Veronica Walsh is 15, fashion-minded, fat, and friendless. Her summer job in the Consignment Corner section (Employees Only!) of a vintage clothing store is a dream come true. There Veronica can spend her days separating the one-of-a-kind gem garments from the Dollar-a-Pound duds, without having to deal with people. But when two outrageous yet charismatic salesgirls befriend her and urge her to spy on and follow the mysterious and awkward stock boy Veronica has nicknamed the Nail, Veronica’s summer takes a turn for the weird. Suddenly, what began as a prank turns into something else entirely. Which means Veronica may have to come out of hiding and follow something even riskier for the first time: her heart.
Talk about a book that will put you through the gauntlet...Vintage Veronica was definitely a surprise to me to say the least. I didn't think it was possible to undergo feeling so many different emotions throughout the reading of a book and yet at the same time have the underlying tone remain so light and easy to read. As a debut YA author, Perl has impressed me with her writing and story telling ability.
Some parts of the novel had me laughing out loud, which doesn't happen often. Veronica and the Nail trying on vintage clothing is a prime example. Some parts had me cringing as Veronica's mom's talks with her inevitably almost always circled back to her weight watcher's points system. It was just so easy to feel a part of the story and the characters that all of these feelings and emotions...well it was like I was there experiencing each and every one of the situations first hand along with the characters themselves.
There were, however, times throughout the novel that I really just wanted to shake Veronica. Anything to get her to wake up to the reality of the actions of the characters she interacted with and the consequences that were inevitably going to follow. There were many points in the story when I truly had a hard time liking her at all. This was new for me, usually a female protagonist is easy to relate to and like quickly, but Veronica was constantly pushing me to the edge of my patience. It was at the same time though that I realized Perl displays an uncanny ability to portray the characters she created so realistically that you can't help but take part in their journey with them. When Veronica was disappointed at herself and her actions, I was disappointed with her as well. When she was hopeful, I was right there with her, sympathizing with her attempts to correct the wrongs she had committed. It was amazing!
And don't let me forget to mention the actual store in which Veronica works. I can only say that in the beginning I was not thinking this was a store I would ever want to find myself shopping in, but by the end I can only say that I wish I had one right down the street from me. Veronica's ability to pick out the riches among the rags had me craving a shopping trip of my own.
If you haven't picked this read up yet, go out and get it, you'll be glad you did. The way Perl weaved her story together while dealing with real life issues like self image, peer pressure, family struggles, etc...and yet still managing to have her readers leaving this story feeling good while dealing with heavy matters was extremely enjoyable. I'm definitely glad I had the opportunity to read this novel and can't wait to see what Perl produces next.
I give Vintage Veronica 4 shamrocks!