Wednesday, February 19, 2014

REVIEW: It's All in Your Mind by Ann Herrick

17-year-old Vija Skalbe wants to be an all-American girl—no matter how hard her parents try to impose their strict Latvian standards on her. Then one day Nolan, a folksinger, steals her heart at a coffeehouse.

Soon Vija is cruising from one adventure to another, dizzy with joy, her new-found freedom and the excitement of being with the kind of guy who is a challenge.

However, when Vija's father has a heart attack, she must take over running the family lawn-care business. She feels overwhelmed until sweet brainiac Joel volunteers to help. He shares the workload and lifts her spirits with his humor. But it is Nolan who fills her heart.

It doesn't matter that Nolan wants everything his way. Or that he's constantly eyeing other girls. Or that he can be pouty and punitive. Or that he says she's seeing things all wrong. Until it does matter. But Vija's in so deep. The thing is, she likes the excitement of being with him. Now, she is about to find out just how much she likes it.

My Thoughts:
After reading It's All in Your Mind, I'm a little bit torn. The premise of the story sounded great, the authors writing was really good, but I just felt like there wasn't a great deal happening a lot of the time, although I did really enjoy reading about Vija and her family and watching Vija's growth throughout the book.

Vija Skalbe is a seventeen year old girl from a Latvian family. Despite her parents reluctance, Vija wants to fit into the American way of life. After an outing to a coffeehouse with her friend, she meets Nolan, the gorgeous folk singer. Much to her surprise Nolan is interested in her and they start dating. Being with Nolan is exciting and challenging. But when her father suffers a heart attack school friend Joel is the one that's there to lend a hand.

I don't usually reread a books synopsis before I start reading it for review. I like to go in and be surprised. But after a few chapters I had to stop and go and check out the book description on Goodreads. This was after meeting Nolan. Surely he couldn't be the romantic interest for the whole book? Whilst the physical description of him was appealing, good looking, confident, folk singer... I was thinking, okay, this could work, his personality was way shory of what I wanted. Vija would have an opinion on something and he would shoot her down. She wasn't permitted to make any sort of decision for herself. Not what she ate, when she ate or how much she ate. Not where they went or what they did. He constantly flirted with other girls, no matter if Vija was there or not. If she wasn't there he would just tell her about it. I didn't like the person the Vija was with him. She was reserved and stumbled over her words. She constantly had concerns about his feelings. However she readily admitted that he was a challenge and she wanted a challenge. Despite all of that, I had times where I really liked him, but inevitably he would do something to have me offside again. But when she was with Joel she was a different person. Able to have opinions and to have her opinions and thoughts and feelings matter. She was fun and happy with him. It was like seeing two completely different girls.

When I first opened the book to start reading, I was excited to see that it was set in the late fifties. Most of my reads are set in modern times, or sometime in the future, so this was something new and interesting. And I have to say that I loved all of the references to the music throughout the story. 

A real standout of this story for me was the sense of family. When Vija's father suffers his heart attack, she stepped up to the plate to take on his duties at work without hesitation. Another thing was Joel's easy going nature. It was a real pleasure to read the scenes that he was a part of.

If you're looking for a clean, quick, Young Adult contemporary, It's All in Your Mind may be what you're looking for.

3/5 Stars

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