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Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
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Very LeFreak

by Rachel Cohn

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
there will be those who care enough about Very to finish the book, but I am not one of them ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
“Very LeFreak” by Rachel Cohn (320 pages) had such an interesting premise: Witty college student deals with technology addiction. Hilarity ensues, right? Well, not exactly.

The main character, Very, is well, to put it nicely, VERY, VERY annoying.

I realize that chatacters have to have flaws to grow and everything, but jeez!

There are even characters that I actually enjoyed in the book, if only they were the title characters.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this book does have some redeeming qualities. It had some laugh-out-loud funny parts. I couldn’t get enough of her grandma! And … yeah.

And I am not sure how it went so wrong. I lived “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist!” Guess Cohn is just better as a team.

Bottom line: It is OK. It is a quick read, so at least there’s that. ( )
  youngadultish | Jun 28, 2011 |
Reviewed by Breanna F. for TeensReadToo.com

Very LeFreak (real name: Veronica) is a freshman on scholarship at Columbia University who is addicted to technology. She's constantly on her laptop doing anything and everything she can think of. She's attached to every single type of music that she has on her iPod, and she's practically conjoined to her iPhone. She's always sending out meme's during class or making random playlists, and of course talking to her online crush, El Virus. They've been talking for quite a while and love to play out crazy fantasies with each other, but they have never seen each others faces. Very also cannot seem to stop moving. She's constantly throwing parties and getting completely trashed. She doesn't seem to have an off button.

Eventually her roommate, Jennifer (to Very it's Lavinia); her sort of ex-friend, Bryan; her RA, Debbie; and the Dean stage an intervention, letting Very know that all of her technology usage is getting way out of hand: i.e. she's addicted. Bryan has confiscated her laptop, and her iPod and iPhone are in the hands of Lavinia and Debbie. Very thinks this is ludicrous: how the heck can she live without her technology?

She gets over the whole "being told you're an addict to technology" thing pretty quickly, actually. But when one of her friends who wasn't really big on the intervention in the first place gets her use of a laptop, some information gets out to her which leads to Very practically killing Bryan.

She wakes up in the psych ward with Lavinia and her Aunt Esther over her. She is told that she will be going to a sort of rehab place called ESCAPE, which stands for Emergency Services for Computer-Addicted Persons Everywhere, in Vermont. Very is livid at first, but once there for a week she actually starts to open up to her therapist and all of her emotions start coming out. But then a sort of weird twist of fate occurs and her progress could start spiraling downwards.

First off, there was a lot of very mature material in this book so I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers. Some of what went on I thought was a little unnecessary to be putting in a book for teens, but I suppose some people like that. Despite the unnecessary material, this was an interesting read. I've never thought that someone could get that out of control with technology. But once Very starts pouring out everything that has happened to her throughout her life, it makes sense why she'd want to escape into the virtual world. The girl definitely had a tough life. But of course, getting way too involved with her technology ended up making her life all the more difficult.

VERY LEFREAK was overall a great book. The element of surprise plays a fairly big part. Many parts I never saw coming, which made the book really great, and the ending wasn't really lackluster, either. If you've read Rachel Cohn in the past, you'll be sure to like this book, and even if you haven't it is sure to be enjoyable. ( )
  GeniusJen | Jun 30, 2010 |
Veronica (Very for short) is incredibly addicted to her electronic devices - iPhone, iPod, and laptop - and her penchant for partying is keeping her from her actually getting something out of her Ivy league education. Readers learn early on she was raised by a hippie, move-all-the-time-to-follow-a-man mom who died before Very got to college age. At best, Very's a free spirit; at worst, she's a complete loser.

The dust jacket explains she ends up at ESCAPE, a rehab for technologically addicted folk, but that doesn't happen until halfway through the book. The first half sets up her addiction, fleshes out some barely worthwhile relationships, and shows her pining for a mysterious El Virus online buddy who has mysteriously disappeared from online presence. His reappearance in her life toward the end of the book was hopelessly predictable.

While at ESCAPE, Very has some very candid conversations (monologues) at her therapist that give the reader some much-needed background on her character, her confusion about her sexuality. Still, it's not enough to make us care for her. The ending happened quickly with a resolution too sappy sweet to be true. Overall, not sure I'd recommend this. ( )
  readerspeak | Jun 30, 2010 |
A technology-addicted Columbia freshman finds relief from her hedonistic party-girl lifestyle at ESCAPE (Emergency Services for Computer-Addicted Persons Everywhere). For the first half of the book, Very (aka Veronica) is Addicted to Technology (brand and product names and song titles dropped madly), which makes her treat most people, especially her sweet and caring roommate Jennifer (whom Very insists on calling Lavinia), like shit. She also maintains an obsessive and secret online relationship with a mysterious persona known only as "El Virus," whose disappearance from the online world serves as a catalyst to her breakdown and exile to ESCAPE. In the second half: therapy, self-awareness, love, redemption. There are several reasons for Very's technology obsession, primarily a globe-trotting childhood with her (now dead) pyromaniac mother, and Cohn doesn't shy away from tackling difficult issues such as intimacy and sexuality.


I had several problems with the way this book was written. Not the premise, because technology addiction is certainly a very current and realistic topic, especially for the demographic at which this book is aimed. I have lately been considering my own level of addiction (which is fairly high, but not yet smartphone-enabled) and whether or not I should take a periodic break. Nevertheless, the way Cohn handles it is not very subtle, involving Very coming to a series of realizations with her therapist that spell out the message in technicolor letters: "In therapy, Very had made the connection that perhaps her overdependence on technology had been her way of not dealing with other, deeper pains. It wasn't about the technology so much as it was about something to do, to stay busy all the time, and to not connect to what was really in her heart."

I feel like most readers are intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions along this line, given the numerous illustrations of the way Very uses technology to avoid deeper interaction. This is not to say that Cohn paints a picture in which technology = bad, the discussion is certainly more nuanced.

In addition, I felt that the writing itself was often trying too hard to be hip, or cutesy, or edgy, and usually just ended up being over the top. For example, this character introduction: "Jean-Wayne's parents, a French-Canadian artist mother and Vancouver-based Chinese businessman father, were both Francophiles and cowboy movie aficionados; they'd met in a Montreal patisserie next door to a revival house cinema where they'd both been to see a matinee showing of Stagecoach, starring John Wayne. They'd named their hybrid boy in tribute to their hybrid passions."

Trying too hard. And the last sentence is unnecessary, since the reader could have gathered that from the previous information.


Yet somehow, despite not liking the writing style, or Very, or the fact that the action was agonizingly slow until Very made it to ESCAPE, I still ended up liking this book. Why? Because, like Very [spoiler alert!], I fell in love with Jennifer/Lavinia. I am a sucker for a sweet romance. ( )
  helgagrace | Mar 21, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Cohn creates a wondrous, sometimes breathtaking character with Very, a wholly believable modern-day multitasker who is unabashedly sexual. That’s why the second half of the book is something of a disappointment
added by khuggard | editBooklist, Daniel Kraus
 
Very's unique take on the world brings plenty of humor and a vicarious ride through racy modern college life
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal, Suzanne Gordon
 
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For Christopher Botten and Jaclyn Moriarty, two great friends from Oz who so warmly cheered on this book (and its author) in its original and final incarnations.
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It wasn't the fact that Starbucks did not--would not--serve Guinness with a raw egg followed by an espresso chaser that was ruining Very's hangover.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375857583, Hardcover)

Very LeFreak has a problem: she’s a crazed technology addict. Very can’t get enough of her iPhone, laptop, IMs, text messages, whatever. If there’s any chance the incoming message, call, text, or photo might be from her supersecret online crush, she’s going to answer, no matter what. Nothing is too important: sleep, friends in mid-conversation, class, a meeting with the dean about academic probation. Soon enough, though, this obsession costs Very everything and everyone. Can she learn to block out the noise so she can finally hear her heart?

Rachel Cohn makes her Knopf solo debut with this funny, touching, and surely recognizable story about a girl and the technology habit that threatens everything.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Consumed with emailing, online video games, and the many distractions of her electronic gadgets, hyper-frenetic Columbia University freshman Veronica, known as Very LeFreak, enters a rehab facility for the technology-addicted after her professors and classmates stage an intervention.… (more)

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