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Vegan Virgin Valentine by Carolyn Mackler
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Vegan Virgin Valentine (2006)

by Carolyn Mackler

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This book started out with Mara, our conductor, calling us to all board the Judgement Express. See a person? Make a judgement. A girl who wears short skirts and a tank top? Clearly a slut. A slightly social awkward coffee house customer? Clearly, he lives in his parent’s basement. The gossipy girls? Definitely just dumb blondes. Mara is perhaps the most judgmental narrator I’ve ever read, and at the beginning of this book, that really didn’t bother me.

If I had to admit it, I would have to say that I was a pretty judgmental person in high school as well. After all, Mara and I have a lot in common. Both straight-A, focused-on-academics types who can admit to being complete control freaks and like to have everything a certain way. We’re both the younger sisters of older siblings whose life turned out very differently, and we both have nieces who aren’t that much younger than us. V’s a year younger than Mara, whereas my oldest niece is about three and a half years younger than me. So on all accounts, I should be able to relate to Mara.

And I did. . . at first. Then as the plot progressed, the relating thing became a whole lot harder. While I appreciate that Mara took the time to combat SOME of her judgements about V, this NEVER extended to anyone else. She just decides that perhaps she’s misjudged V’s intentions from the beginning and she’s not so bad after all. She still continues to think badly of others, however, and make fun of customers in the coffee shop and judge. . . well, pretty much everyone at school.

The rest of this review appears on Book.Blog.Bake. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Mara is the super achiever A student involved in multiple activities and on the fast track to Yale. Enter her one-year-younger niece and her feelings for her older boss that cause her to re-evaluate her life and goals. It is sad to see her opt for the ordinary at the end. ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
I really like this book, because it's a easy read. This book is about the life of a teenager, called Mara Valentine and troubles that happen during her school days. She is one of those goodie goodie daughters and students who gets straight -As in every topic and has a perfect future ahead. She plans to fast-track college into second year at Yale. However, things don't go smoothly when her pot smoking niece called V comes to stay with her.

The book is interesting in how Mara struggles and manages with her niece and other incidents in the book. The more her niece stays, the more of "perfectness" of Mara vanishes away. It explores how two girls of completely different characters come to like each other and change some aspects of their lives.

Cathy ( )
  TLHelen | Nov 6, 2012 |
I picked this up in a book sale and didn't really expect much beyond a fluffy light read. What I actually discovered is that this is a fresh, breezy and relatable YA novel that I will be happily keeping on my shelf for next time I need something fun to cheer me up!

Mara Valentine is perfect. She has the perfect grades, the perfect extra-curriculars, the perfect future, and the perfect plan to get there. In between organising student events and liaising with her teachers, she is planning a fast-track summer of college courses so that she can enter Yale as a second year. Then, to her horror, her wild, pot-smoking 15 year-old niece V arrives and turns her life upside down - and as if this wasn't enough to contend with, she also realises that she is falling for her handsome older boss James. The novel explores how these two completely different girls' lives converge. V can teach Mara a thing or two about living life to the full - and about how there's more to life than what grades you get. Meanwhile Mara and her parents slowly begin to instil in V a sense of stability, pride and family loyalty, encouraging her to pursue her talents and study more. If only they could stop treating each other like alien enemies, life in the Valentine house might even become pleasant again...

I really enjoyed Mara and V's journey! I think that anyone who has ever felt the weight of expectation hanging over them during their academic years can relate to Mara - particularly if things haven't always quite gone to plan. I was cheering for her every step of the way! I think that the moral of the story is very sound: that academics are important, but that you can't be good at everything, you can't do it all, and there are other important things in life that can't be graded, like love, friendship, great books, great movies, exciting trips, and taking time to enjoy the world around you. Parents and teachers aren't always right, and ultimately you'll have to make your own decisions.

It's worth mentioning that there are a couple of scenes of mild drug use, and Mara is old enough to go off to university so there's a bit of sexy spiciness between her and James. For that reason alone, I'd be cautious about recommending it to the youngest end of the YA spectrum, but it's a fantastic little read for the older teen market. I'll be keeping Vegan Virgin Valentine on my shelves, and picking up Guyaholic, the second V Valentine novel, at some point too! ( )
  elliepotten | Jun 7, 2012 |
Ms. Mackler's books all tend to be great. She has found a way to strike a balance between discussing serious topics and issues that teens face in today's world without being cheesy or preachy about it. Well done! ( )
  rainstar76 | Apr 9, 2010 |
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Dedication
For my dear friend,
Jenny Greenberg,
with love.
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The first thing V did upon arriving in Brockport was fool around with my ex-boyfriend.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for number-one class ranking and plans to kick his salutatorian butt on her way out the door to Yale. Mara has her remaining months in Brockport all planned out.

The plan does not involve having V, her slutty, pot-smoking, sixteen-year-old niece—yes, niece—come to live with her family. Nor does it involve lusting after her boss at the local café or dreaming about grilled cheese sandwiches every night. Before Mara knows it, things are spinning wildly out of control....
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763626139, Paperback)

"Warmth and humor suffuse the story of Mara's senior-year transformation from tense, rigid perfectionist to relaxed, centered graduate. . . . Funny and optimistic." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for number-one class ranking and plans to kick his salutatorian butt on her way out the door to Yale. Mara has her remaining months in Brockport all planned out, but the plan does not include having V, her slutty, pot-smoking, sixteen-year-old niece - yes, niece - come to live with her family. Nor does it involve lusting after her boss or dreaming about grilled cheese sandwiches every night. What does a control freak like Mara do when things start spinning wildly out of control? With insight, authenticity, and a healthy dose of humor, Carolyn Mackler creates an evolving Type A heroine that every reader will recognize - and root for.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Mara has her senior year planned out and her sights set on Yale when her niece, who is only one year younger and opposite in temperament, moves in and disrupts Mara's life.

» see all 3 descriptions

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Candlewick Press

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763621552, 0763626139

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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