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Vegan, Virgin, Valentine
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About the Author

Carolyn Mackler is a young American writer who has written short stories and feature articles for numerous publications and websites and makes frequent appearances on television and radio. She lives in New York City and recently got married.

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Gr 8 Up-Overachieving high school senior Mara Valentine's drive stems from the belief that she is her parents' "Only Hope"; her 35-year-old sister has achieved nothing but having a daughter, V, who is only a year younger than Mara and appears to be a "nicotine-addicted nympho." Sport for Mara is competing with her ex-boyfriend for class valedictorian; she has been accepted early decision to Yale. Mara is a sharp, interesting narrator, but she has alienated most of her friends with her rigid, single-minded attitudes. Her life is thrown into chaos when V comes to live with the family, and provides multiple shades of gray in Mara's black-and-white world. She makes out with Mara's ex on the first day of school and constantly makes cutting, but frighteningly accurate, comments about the limitations of her aunt's life plans. In the midst of this chaos, while working part-time at a local cafe, Mara falls in love with her 22-year-old boss who hasn't gone to college and is forced to reassess the goals that V has already called into question. The romance is believable, as is the tension between Mara and V, although both situations resolve smoothly and somewhat quickly. This is a fast, often humorous read with some meat but no bite (although Mara does lose her virginity)-just the universal theme of growing up and figuring out what's important. This title will have strong appeal for teens grappling with these same questions.-Karyn N. Silverman, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"I love Carolyn Mackler!" Judy Blume"

Mara Valentine, who is headed to Yale, is vying with her ex-boyfriend for valedictorian. Enter wild relative V, a junior, who moves in with Mara's family. "There are some hilarious moments here," according to PW. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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