Mallory and Jeremy are the perfect couple. That is, until Mallory accidentally logs into his online “Authentic Life” profile and finds his heartfelt correspondence with his cyber-wife, “BubbleYum”. This disaster and the following social media ugliness make Mallory weary of her decade. So when she finds a box of her grandma’s high-school memorabilia from 1962, she is struck with nostalgia for the days before the technology boom. Mallory then sets out to give up her gadgets and complete her grandmother’s list of five junior year goals: Run for pep club secretary, host a fancy dinner party/soiree, sew a dress for Homecoming, find a steady, and do something dangerous.
I think the best thing about Going Vintage was its surprisingly strong girl-power messages. There is romance in the book, but it takes a back seat to Mallory’s search for her interests, her strengths, and her place in the world. Other focuses are her sweet relationship with her two-years-younger sister Ginnie, her bond with her influential grandmother, and her struggles with her somewhat-misguided mother. It was truly a book about Mallory, In a very healthy and well-rounded way.
Another enjoyable aspect of the story was that Mallory’s father is an antiques/vintage dealer, and Mallory works for him, sorting through big assortments of junk for valuables. I liked reading about that process, and it was unique.
Two other bonuses: Jeremy, despite being the “bad guy”, was very humanized and real; and Mallory’s banter with the love interest, Oliver, was funny, cute, and well-done.
Negatives? Someone pointed out to me that Oliver might have been a little too perfect, although I’m not sure it really bothered me. And I have a nagging feeling that there wasn’t quite enough meat to the actual plot. I think the problem is the pep club. A big part of the story is that Mallory starts a pep club at her school, but we don’t get many real pep club scenes. I’d have liked more of that storyline, both scenes involving it and conflicts to its success, to really pull everything together.
Overall, I think the best word for Going Vintage is surprising. I thought I had it typed and pegged, but the story detoured my ideas in a lot of ways; which I liked. My expectations going in were only moderate, just because it seemed potentially airheaded (I’m not sure why, I just felt that way), but Going Vintage exceeded them.