Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler

a book review


Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler

Teachers’ favorite student, a dream daughter and more, Mara had it all: the perfect grades, honor roll, and a supportive family. But that all changed when her niece Vivian (V) showed up to stay with them.

V’s mom (Mara’s older sister) is in her thirties. She’s a flake and a crappy mother. And yet again she moved to some exotic place, this time Costa Rica, so V had to stay with her grandparents and Aunt Mara for her education (which she had little of and was falling behind in because of her mom). V resented this decision and wanted to stay with her mom but the choice was made.

Almost the same age as her aunt Mara, V is known for trouble: vaping, drugs and promiscuity. The girls are total opposites, and now they have to live together and get along. Even worse, Mara’s parents (V’s grandparents) thought V was as great as Mara.

But there was so much V was hiding from them, and Mara knew everything.

She knew what people were saying about V at school, about the drugs, and when Mara found out V slept with her ex-boyfriend, who she still liked, that was the last straw for Miss Nice Girl.

This story felt so real to me, even though I have never read a book like this before. The setting was untouched territory and the story included such weird conflicts that would never happen to me, like having a niece the same age as me and helping to keep her addictions secret.  And I am surprised to tell you, I liked it. Will Mara and V ever connect? The book kept me on my toes because you couldn’t ever tell what would come next.

Family life can be more complicated than I thought. The story was laid out in an easy-to-read manner, and although it had a slow beginning, I kept to it and fell in love with Mackler’s realistic fiction book. It is awesome and twisted, and I would happily read it again.