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Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn

January 26th, 2010 (10:43 am)
Tags: ,

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Little Voice by Hilary Duff

Rachel Cohn's new YA novel Very LeFreak follows the title character through her tumultuous freshman year at Columbia University. Very (short for Veronica) loves life. She flings herself head-first into everything, including romantic flings. However, don't let her enthusiastic organizations of parties and flash mobs fool you: she's far more than a party girl, and there's an intelligent brain in that head of wild red hair.

Very was raised by her single mother, a carefree woman who moved her daughter all over the world for much of her young life. Her mother's sudden (but not completely unexpected) death landed Very with her great-aunt Esther, who has a fondness for knitting odd sweaters and a disdain for swearing. After being homeschooled (or worldschooled) by her mom for much of her life, Very did very well in high school and scored a scholarship to Columbia, but during her first year at college, her addiction to all things technological - she is rarely without her laptop, her iPod, and her iPhone - has gotten in the way of real-life relationships and harmed her academic record.

The first half of the novel brings readers into Very's life just as things are coming to a boil, now that Very has allowed her grades and other obligations to fall far down her list of priorities. Her friends and academic advisors stage an intervention that sends her off to ESCAPE (Emergency Services for Computer-Addicted Persons Everywhere), a 28-day-program in Vermont where the second half of the story takes place. Not only does this book remind us of society's ever-increasing dependence upon technology for communications and connections, but it turns out to be a surprisingly real coming-of-age story as well.

Few YA books currently tackle the transition between high school and college; Very LeFreak does, and does it well. Populated by a cast of contrastive and often eccentric characters and led by the very memorable Very herself, Rachel Cohn's newest novel is one to recommend to older teens and twentysomethings, who will find both humor and reflection in its pages.

Favorite Links

How had civilization existed before the camera phone? How did one even pass time before instant electronic gratification became imprinted into human evolution? - Page 45

You could take the song out of her ears by taking away her headset, but the song remained the same: always in her heart. - Page 190

. . . [T]his disaster that had landed in her lap like a tiger and not like a kitten. - Page 260

The very last line, which I won't reveal here.

Related Posts
Author Spotlight: Rachel Cohn
Interview: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2007)
Interview: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2006)
Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens
Booklist: Set in School + Transition Times


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Anatomy of a Boyfriend

I also like how Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky addresses the high school-college transition, especially in terms of romantic relationships.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Very true.

Posted by: boothyisawesome (boothyisawesome)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)

I got this book recently and can't wait to read it! :) Great review!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)

Thanks! Enjoy the book. :)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)

I hope we see more YA books that will fill this age niche! Thanks for the review!

~Lorie Ann Grover

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)

Thanks for reading the review!

Posted by: Laurie Beth Schneider (idaho_laurie)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)

I'm looking forward to reading this one. I love Rachel Cohn's sense of wordplay in her Cyd Charisse series.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)

CC is a dynamic character. I loved that trilogy.

Posted by: Laurie Beth Schneider (idaho_laurie)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)

Yep. Rachel's Cyd Charisse and E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver. What a pair they'd be.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC)

They would paint the town (or the zoo, or the beach) red.

Posted by: ahundredrevisions.wordpress.com (ext_222833)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)

I've been wondering whether to add this one to the YA collection at my library, or recommend that it be purchased for the adult collection.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)

Due to certain situations, I would give it to those over the age of 16.

One of the great thing about Cohn's bibliography is that she's written for different audiences, so I can give some of her books to the middle schoolers, some to any high schoolers, others to upper high schoolers, still others to adults.

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