Not That Kind Of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl - Siobhan Vivian "Not that Kind of Girl" is a difficult book for me to rate, and I spent some time trying to figure where on the scale I fell about it. The rolling action and dynamic of the characterization was good, that I can't contest. While it's a book that explores the perception of teenage sexuality, specifically female sexuality and how it's perceived, the portrayal seems to have a disconnect. The premise revolves around Natalie, a young woman who's a "take charge of every situation" girl, but somehow has the perception of not letting anyone get the best of her - socially or with respect to any romantic relationships. Her best friend was publicly shamed by a boy she loved, and her former babysitting charge (Spencer) seems to be attracting attention from the popular crowd for her overt sexuality. But while she tries to keep the perceptions of her friends and herself intact, she finds herself falling in love with the last person she expects - Connor, who hangs in the same social circles as the boy who shamed her friend.The story itself seems to have its heart in the right place - saying that it's okay to be comfortable in your own skin, and to challenge quite a bit of the slut shaming culture that surrounds the expression of female sexuality. The characters themselves aren't one-dimensional in terms of their development, but the construction of them seems to be that way. I should note that Natalie is a difficult protagonist to love. There's a definite understanding as to where her oppositions lie with respect to the anti-feminist portrayals around her school, but I was surprised that she would be so anti-relationship in the beginning in totality. Connor, also, seems to be the most understanding boy in the collective portrayal of teen boys in the book, but in real life, it's never usually that one-sided. I did like the interactions between the characters in spurts - it pulled me through the story to figure out where they would go, and made me feel for the conflicts that resulted thereafter. I just didn't like how certain events felt unresolved (i.e. the controversy that surrounded Spencer, and the relationship between Natalie and her best friend and their respective issues) by the end of the work. It's one of those books where you understand the message but it doesn't feel as organic as it could've been in the overarching consideration.Nonetheless, I did find myself enjoying what it had to offer, and Vivian's ability to delve into the relationships of the characters was quite good. I'm definitely going to look into other work from this point on, if for the measure that she has a good handle on showing character interaction and conflict portrayal.Overall score: 3/5