This Girl Is Different
This Girl Is Different

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Annotation: Having always been home schooled by her counter-culture mother, Evie has decided to spend her senior year at the local public high school, an experience that challenges her preconceptions about friendship, boundaries, and power.
Catalog Number: #65363
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Pages: 316 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-561-45578-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-57718-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-561-45578-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-57718-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2010033663
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Evie's had a splendid, hippie-tastic home-school education, but "normal teen" scenes from John Hughes' movies call to her. So she decides to attend one year of conventional school, then head off to Cornell's amazing social-justice program. After her arrival, two of her new school's most popular students e very hot Rajas and his cousin Jacinda on)rescue her (she is not a damsel in distress) after she injures her ankle on a hike. But Evie quickly learns the frustrating limits of high-school life and takes up the mantle of student rights, free speech, and equality. However, her efforts to keep teachers in check via a blog and some strategically placed cardboard lightning bolts create pandemonium among her fellow students, jeopardizing her future and destroying her relationship with her new best friends. Johnson's fun, activist-minded debut has a close cousin in Jamila Stevenson's The Latte Rebellion (2010). Evie is a strong yet vulnerable heroine whose intellectual bent and sense of self will remind readers that, as historian Laurel Thatcher Urlich said, "Well-behaved women rarely make history."
Horn Book
Evie, homeschooled by her freethinking mom, gives public high school a try. With the help of two friends and a group blog, she challenges anything she finds unfair. Evie uncovers some real injustices and scandals--including a teacher-student relationship--but the fallout for speaking up is worse than she expects. The well-plotted story raises thought-provoking questions about personal responsibility and power dynamics.
Kirkus Reviews
Despite warnings from her hippie mom (who stealthily places peace stickers on toy guns at Wal-Mart), Evie's eager to give up homeschooling at their sustainable home in upstate New York to spend her senior year at the "Institution of School." Outspoken Evie, with a voice so endearing and provocative that it will make readers pause often to think, quickly discovers in this witty debut that high school is full of biased rules, abuses of power and a lack of civil liberties. Only her newfound friend, popular, Indian-American cheerleader Jacinda, and her gorgeous cousin, Rajas, make the endeavor tolerable. Normally self-confident and eschewing labels, Evie can't explain why she wants to define her first love, which can leave her vulnerable and insecure. After the cheerleading coach humiliates a member for her weight, the trio sets up a blog for the People's Lightning to Undermine True Oppression (PLUTO) with a manifesto for social justice and mounts a lightning bolt to the coach's door. Their friendship suffers, and the school turns to chaos, however, when Jacinda's inappropriate relationship with a teacher is outed and students use PLUTO to air personal grievances. Learning firsthand how difficult it is to lead a revolution, Evie wonders if she's up to the challenge or if she's just the freak everyone calls her. Readers will never look at high school—or life—the same. (Fiction. YA)
Publishers Weekly
Having inherited rabble-rousing genes from her ultra-liberal mother, homeschooled Evensong Sparkling Morningdew, who would rather be called Evie "for obvious reasons," isn't about to be a passive student when she tries out public school during her senior year. She is shocked by the institution's conditions-"disgusting" bathrooms, no sunlight, and Styrofoam dishes in the cafeteria-and appalled by the faculty's abuse of power. When her objections are ignored, she and two friends create a blog to encourage other students to speak up about injustices. The blog creates a stir, and as Evie's peers jump on the bandwagon to point fingers of blame, feelings are hurt, and friendships and even teachers' jobs are threatened. Offering a thorough examination of the pitfalls of protest and revolution in terms teens will understand, this smart first novel will likely spark discussions about authority abuse and crossing boundaries. Rather than judging Evie's methods of precipitating change, Johnson reveals a broad spectrum of perspectives through her characters' differing sentiments, motivations, and opinions. Authority figures, who Evie initially despises, make astute points throughout the novel. Ages 12-16. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Add a few years to Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl (Knopf, 2000), remove the mystical aura, plop her in northern New York state, shore up her liberal credentials (e.g., with a build-your-own geodesic dome home), mix in a healthy dose of self-righteousness, a dash of cynicism, a libido, and a hot South Asian boyfriend who is "a crunchier, leaner version of Kumar from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle "...and voil&4;! Meet Evie. As a homeschooler entering senior year in the arena of a public high school, this stridently independent protagonist starts an anonymous blog to shed light on injustice, from the cheer squad coach who takes body image to the extreme to the teacher who may&12;or may not&12;be having an affair with a student. The ensuing chaos mixes with romantic comedy to culminate in a melodramatic resolution reminiscent of certain '80s John Hughes flicks, but Evie does undergo a degree of character reform through the process. Most of the figures surrounding this stubborn narrator lack depth, Evie's histrionics can be over-the-top, the writing is uneven, and sometimes noncontextualized pop-culture quotes jump out discordantly. Because of the novel's incorporation of First Amendment issues in this era of Web 2.0, it is worth most high schools' second tier of purchases.&12; Rhona Campbell, formerly at Washington, DC Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (5/1/11)
Horn Book (8/1/11)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (7/1/11)
Word Count: 62,226
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 143827 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.1 / points:16.0 / quiz:Q53751
Lexile: HL530L
Guided Reading Level: Z+
Fountas & Pinnell: Z+

What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school? First friendship, first loveand first encounters with the complexities of authority and responsibility.
Evie is different. Not just her upbringingthough thats certainly been unusualbut also her mindset. Shes smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School.
It doesnt take this homeschooled kid long to discover that high school is a whole new world, and not in the way she expected. Its also a social minefield, and Evie finds herself confronting new problems at every turn. Not one to sit idly by, Evie sets out to make changes. Big changes. The movement she starts takes off, but when her plan begins spiraling out of control, Evie is forced to come to terms with a world she is only just beginning to comprehend.
J.J. Johnsons powerful debut novel will enthrall readers as it challenges assumptions about friendship, rules, boundaries, and power.


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