After she discovers her boyfriend cheating on her with a virtual girlfriend, 16-year-old Mallory decides she’s over technology. Her grandma got along just fine without FriendSpace and smartphones and digital gossip back in the ’60s, and Mallory decides “going vintage” is the way to sidestep her problems. Armed with a list created by Grandma fifty years earlier on how to make the most of her school year, Mallory recruits her sister in a scheme to shun modern technology until the current storm passes.
And pass it does — though not in the way Mallory expects. Jeremy doesn’t take the break-up well, even given his own indiscretions, and goes on a mission to win her back — though a handsome newcomer seems intent on showing Mallory what she’s been missing. Family rivalry, vintage throwbacks, sisterly love . . . all in a day’s work.
Lindsey Leavitt’s Going Vintage is a cute, offbeat young adult novel that will find a home with hip teens. Since anything old-school is trendy right now, I definitely appreciated that the story felt quite of-the-moment. You know how sometimes you read teen novels and think, “No one would ever talk like this, dress like that, react that way . . .” ? And it totally ruins it for you because, you know, you might not be a teen yourself, but you’re not that old and clueless? Doesn’t happen here.
Mallory herself is a pretty empowered gal. Not to go all “she’s a good role model!” on you, but honestly: she’s a good role model. Not content to wrap herself up with a dude, our girl makes her own decisions — and has no problem bucking trends. When a cute but slimy boyfriend does her wrong, she ditches him. When everyone else is glued to texting, she favors a more “old-fashioned” communication: actually talking on the phone. On a landline. To Oliver, who is absolutely adorable.
I fell a little in love with Oliver . . . and not just because it’s my favorite boy’s name. He’s Jeremy’s polar opposite, and his banter with Mallory couldn’t be matched. I loved his enthusiasm and Eagle Scout qualities — though he had a bit of a sassy streak, too. Basically, I loved that every character in Going Vintage left doormat status and developed a personality of their own.
And though the story has an overarching theme — don’t let technology rule your life — it has a surprising moral, too: don’t wax poetic about the past. Mallory’s grandmother, the inspiration for “going vintage” in the first place, does her part to keep her granddaughter rooted in the present. I loved Ginnie, Mallory’s kid sister, and her frankness. I also liked that the Bradshaws had offbeat jobs: Mal’s dad is an “antiques dealer,” which means he frequently prowls abandoned storage units looking for deals (think “Storage Wars”), while Mal’s mom has a surprising but modern hobby that generates the family cash (it’s a secret!). Another way in which this “vintage” story felt very current.
Fans of young adult fiction looking for a light, quick read will find much to enjoy in Going Vintage. Though it took me about 50 pages to get truly invested in the story, I couldn’t stop reading once I’d been hooked. I liked that the high school characters didn’t act too old or too young, and I appreciated that Leavitt could right some serious witty banter. A fun, enjoyable story.
4 out of 5!