About a Girl by Sarah McCarry | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
If there is one thing you must know before picking up a novel written by Sarah McCarry: it’s that her writing is extraordinarily unique and real. She makes sure that her descriptions are on point and that nothing is left out. Everything is well thought out and planned and while it shows promise in her writing it sometimes come off as cold and dull and there were more than a few parts in the story I had to sit it down because I got bored. In all the good qualities of her writing, it’s often at the back of your mind that it’s very ramble filled. I have a bit of mixed emotions on this book because as good as it was in its highlights, I felt like I wanted more from it by the ending.
As for her characters? They are intelligent and intense in all the right ways; so very realistic in terms of their personality. I promise you that upon reading her works, you will feel a great deal of emotions towards her characters (good and bad) and the plots that follow, even if the outcome of it all disappoints you in one way or another. About A Girl feeds on your curiosity and brings you into the story instantly. One thing I found particularly good about the story is how often it reminded what it’s like to be a teenager; so curious, so hormonal, so sure of yourself and unsure at the same time.
Which is a plus for the target audience if you are a teenager it’s likely you will be finding yourself connected to such a phenomenal fictional character. Tally is an unique voice that blends intelligence and frustration all into one believable package. She can be frustratingly pretentious at times but this is what adds depth to her character; what makes her all the more full of life. Another plus side is her sexuality and the exploration of it is very realistic and something that is sorely lacking in young adult entertainment.
Tally’s narration is is filled with something quite similar to what you would find in a teenager: rambling instead of light conversation and the girl is chopped full of so much curiosity and knowledge that you’re intrigued by her from the beginning.
Truly, she is a girl after my own heart and the cast of characters she connects with – back home and on her quest of self discovery and to find her biological father– are refreshing and diverse; something that (as I said before) is severely lacking in literature in this day and age.
Or, you know, ever.
Yes, Tally’s voice is refreshing in a sea of characters that are virtually carbon copies of one another. But with that compliment, it doesn't mean she won't get on your last nerve from time to time -- she is certainly one of those characters where it's one emotion or another towards.
I won’t lie to you and say that there are no characters at all like her out there, or that the whole “girl doesn’t know her biological family” plot isn’t outdone, but I will say that her narration is something rare and entertaining to read. It is in her flaws, her uniqueness, her quirks and her similarities to all of us that make her obtainable to readers. Just as the other books in this trilogy, it’s weird in all the right ways and has obvious ties to the others.
Books like About A Girl are important because although the world is fictional and has differences from our own, it still showcases an attitude that should be the normal when it comes down to certain topics. There’s a wide variety of characters, as I said, in the story including those of different race, sexual orientation and a trans character. And the best part? It’s that none of these characters are defined by any one personality trait and what makes them different doesn’t make them weak or special; they’re just startlingly real.
The journey that Tally takes, the people she meets and the more she discovers is an entertaining read. It’s all sorts of genres mixed into one, or so it felt like to me, and while it isn’t my favorite release of the year it still served a great purpose and remains important. I’d recommend this book, and the others in the trilogy, to just about anyone. I enjoyed it, even in its downs, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on it as well.
While I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, it really was entertaining and unlike any books I’ve read lately. It ties in with the other books in the series and it was fascinating seeing some of what we know unfold for Tally as she goes on a quest of self discovery. Nothing is as she expected and the ending felt a little… eh.
Although it could have been better, it could have been worse. If you’re looking for strong characters, diversity, fantasy and a raw look into romance and life's surprises, this is absolutely the book for you.