Review: Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl

Title: Vintage Veronica
Author: Erica S. Perl
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: 3/9/2010
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Vintage shops, Weight issues, First impressions, Second Chances
Pages: 272
Plot (from GoodReads):
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.

When I first read the plot summary for VINTAGE VERONICA, I classified it as a cute and didn’t really expect it to have any depth, but that first impression was entirely off! Erica Perl has written a novel full of quirky characters that captured my heart and has managed to tell a story that the Veronica in all of us can relate to.

The setting and characters of VV were colorful and utterly unforgettable. The only way that I can really describe the feel of the book as is off beat. The easiest way I can describe the novel is by referencing Ellen Page films, like JUNO and WHIP IT. The characters in those films are quirky and seem to stick in your mind as if  held there by superglue.  Veronica is the star of the novel, but I was most drawn to Len, the mysterious and awkward stock boy. He is so much more than what he seems when the reader is briefly introduced to him at the beginning of the novel. I loved discovering the magic of Len as Veronica spends more time with him. I really liked that he isn’t the normal heartthrob character or the tortured bad boy; he’s just Len – and that’s all he needs to be.

Given that I adore Len, it is understandable that I’m a fan of the romance between him and Veronica. However, it wasn’t simply my feelings about Len’s character that pulled me into their love story, it was the truthfulness. Len and Veronica’s relationship is not perfect, but it is awkward, painful, and so, so tender. There are some romances that take you by storm and you are so totally enraptured in one another that there really isn’t very much awkwardness. This is not the case in VV, partly because Veronica tries so hard to keep a cool head about the whole situation and doesn’t allow herself to be overwhelmed by her feelings, in the beginning at least. And when one overanalyzes as much as Veronica, there is always going to be some uncomfortable moments. I think that in real life, people generally fit into that second category, so I found this love story particularly touching.

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

Cover Comments: I do think that the cover of VINTAGE VERONICA is cute, but I’m not sure how eye-catching it is. It caught my eye, obviously, but I like scrapbooking, which the cover is reminscent of. I don’t think I can make a totally informed opinion about this one, since I haven’t seen it in bookstore yet. I’m curious to see if the cover will eventually change though, as they sometimes do.

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