Thursday, December 16, 2010
Review: Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl
Veronica Walsh works at a consignment shop, sorting antique clothing all day and avoiding having to interact with people. The job is perfect for her because, while she loves fashion, she is also fat, and her experience with people has not endeared them to her.
But Veronica’s life begins to change the day Zoe and Ginger, two intensely cool salesgirls, begin to talk to her, and she begins to cross paths with Len, a silent, frustratingly slooow coworker. Veronica thinks she’s got the three of them figured out, but as her friendship with Len grows, she begins to see that she does not know people—or herself—as well as she once thought…
VINTAGE VERONICA is a top-notch light-hearted coming-of-age YA contemporary novel. With excellent characterization, a fantastic setting, and a heartfelt lesson that everyone can relate to, VINTAGE VERONICA is truly delightful.
Erica Perl has gotten the authentic and appealing teen voice down pat. Veronica may claim that she’d rather spend time with fabrics than people, but if so, then she is a shrewd observer in her self-imposed naivety. The way she describes the consignment shop makes the place feel like the only place you’d ever want to work, a building filled with ancient machinery, quirky coworkers, and the most interesting customers and clothing you’ll ever encounter.
This is not a book about self-esteem, body image, losing weight, and the like, for which I am thankful. Veronica does make note of her size, but instead chooses to devote more of her attention—and, to our delight, her narrative—to the observances of her workplace. She is intelligent and fashion-savvy, and yet has the insecurities and desires that every 15-year-old girl wants, despite what she says: friends, a boy who will love her the way she is. Therefore, she ends up making the same mistakes that other people make for the sake of social interaction, and then eventually learning from those mistakes.
VINTAGE VERONICA contains a wonderful cast of minor characters that you feel like you know a lot about just from Veronica’s descriptions. Len is an unusual love interest, with his slowness and love of reptiles. The development of Veronica and Len’s romance felt just a bit unnaturally quick to me, for two people who have so many issues. But that was the only part of the book that I felt was overly dramatic. Len may be an unusual love interest, but he is also kind of adorable, for those of us who have a soft spot for dorky, geeky guys.
Overall, VINTAGE VERONICA was a pleasure to read from cover to cover. It reminded me of the best kind of contemporary novels I remember loving as a teen: good writing, a smart and appealing protagonist, and a feel-good lesson at the end of the day.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - It's vintage and it hints of Veronica's love of fashions, fabrics, and consignment stores, all right!
Random House / March 9, 2010 / Hardcover / 288pp. / $16.99
Sent by publisher for review.