Book review: 'Going Vintage' a fun, new YA novel with a spot-on teen voice

By Margot Hovley

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, April 28 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

"GOING VINTAGE," by Lindsey Leavitt, Bloomsbury, $16.99, 312 pages (f) (ages 15 and up)

Imagine willingly giving up technology, including computers, cellphones, video games and cable. How long would it last?

Mallory, a high school junior, decides to give up any post-1960s technolgy when she discovers her boyfriend "cheated" on her with an online avatar. He doesn't see it that way — after all, it's only an online virtual reality game. But Mallory finds out he not only has a pretend online "wife," he's been writing her heartfelt love letters. She feels angry and betrayed.

Mallory longs for the time when things were simpler — like, say, the early 1960s — pre-hippie days, pre-war days, pre-problem days. She swears off cellphone calls and texts, and after one last furious update on her social media site, she's gone. She even gets some cool vintage clothes to match. She finds a list of goals her grandmother made as a teenager, and decides that taking those goals as her own will be the perfect way to heal her heart.

She sets off on a hilarious pursuit of pep clubs, fancy dinner parties and sewing her own prom dress. Along the way, she discovers that living in 1962 isn't easy nowadays — and it wasn't so easy back then, either.

Lindsey Leavitt, a Brigham Young University graduate and former teacher in the Murray area, pulls this tale off with style. Getting the teen voice right isn't easy, but Leavitt does it to perfection. There are many laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with the lessons to be learned.

Most local readers will find it refreshing to read no teen sex in this book. The topic is lightly discussed, but in a way that doesn't belittle abstinence. There are a few kissing scenes (and Mallory does concede that most of the time she was with her new ex-boyfriend was spent making out and perhaps not the best idea) and one instance of a swear word that perhaps put the book out of tween readership.

Leavitt is also the author of the Princess for Hire series, a tween fantasy about a girl who gets a job substituting for princesses, and a young adult contemporary novel, "Sean Griswold's Head." She lives in Las Vegas with her young family. Her website is at lindseyleavitt.com.

Margot Hovley's first novel, "Sudden Darkness," was published by Covenant Communications in fall 2012. Her self-reliance blog is at www.mynewoldschool.com or read about her writing adventures at www.margothovley.com.

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