In Lindsey Leavitt’s delightful new novel, Going Vintage, Mallory is happy spending time with her boyfriend, Jeremy. Really, she doesn’t do much of anything else, until an afternoon make out session leads to the discovery of Jeremy’s secret online girlfriend. Mallory keeps her silence and is villanized by swirling rumors in the aftermath of their break up, and in all the ugliness becomes convinced that none of her problems could have existed without modern day technology. She retreats to using only what would would have been available to her in idyllic 1962 (in terms of both technology and clothing) the year her grandmother was sixteen. When she finds her grandmother’s list of goals from that same year, Mallory decides that completing them herself will be just the thing she needs to get her back on track.
Going Vintage has all the usual suspects for a charming young adult novel. The heroine, Mallory, is on a journey of exploration as she tries to find a place for herself once she doesn’t have the comfortable life that she’d made for herself as the girlfriend of a popular boy. She’s meeting new people, trying new things, having her basic assumptions about the world challenged, and finding new love in a place that is unexpected – maybe even taboo.
I loved the relationship that Mallory had with her sister Ginnie, and also with her grandmother. It was refreshing to see two teen-aged sisters who really got and adored one another as opposed to the usual rivalry or indifference. And Grandma, for her part, resisted the efforts of her granddaughters to put her in a box. She had a few surprises of her own, and insisted upon her own life and space do as she pleased. I also really loved was the exploration of what comprises a relationship, and what determines its boundaries, and the idea of faithfulness that has nothing to do with sexual expression. “Emotional” cheating always strikes me as such a nebulous area, that it was interesting to see it defined in a concrete way with accompanying consequences. Leavitt explores a number of issues while still keeping the balance that makes Going Vintage a thoughtful, yet fun, read. Recommended.