Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

girldefectiveThis is one of the titles that didn’t fall under my radar until very recently. But I wanted to read it as soon as I saw the cover! No, I wasn’t really looking at the teens kissing. I wasn’t even looking at the boy wearing a pig’s snout, although that was kinda cute. It was the records.

I’m a sucker for books about music.

The synopsis compared this book to High Fidelity and Empire Records, which are both among my favourite movies. Not that I read the synopsis before starting on this book. A good thing, too – since it doesn’t remind me of either movie at all, and if I had read the synopsis, I would’ve been disappointed. But.

I liked the book. A lot. It’s basically a super fun read, about a girl named Skylark, her brother (named Seagull), and the vintage record store that her dad owns. Skylark loves music and plans to succeed after her dad. Seagull likes solving mysteries and almost never takes off his pig’s snout. Neither have many – or any – friends at school, although they’re both close to Nancy, an older girl who at first comes off as a stereotypical MPDG, but would be more fleshed out throughout the book. And then there’s Luke Casey, the new guy their dad hired to help out during the summer.

This story is a mystery, as it follows a couple of threads that unravels as the characters search for answers. It’s about music, and the search for that one ultimate record. It’s about family, both the kind you’re born to, and the kind you make. It’s about friends – the kind we can’t let go of, and the kind we need. It’s about all the different ways one can be a misfit, and not being able to fit in. It is also about summer romance, sort of – the romantic thread doesn’t really start until MUCH later in the book, which is a plus point to me! All of these things come together well enough to make one very satisfying read.

I don’t really have any misgivings about Girl Defective, except for one. There were a few uses of ableist language – to me, the language fits in with the story, as it made me think about what those words really mean, and how they might affect Seagull. It also fits in with Skylark’s notion that all of them are “defects” in one way or another. But those that want to steer clear away of all and any kind of ableist language will want to proceed with caution with this book.

I really like the treatment of romance in this story – as a sort of flavour to Skylark’s story/summer, but not really the point at all. I’m tired of all these stories where it’s all about the love, you know? I like that the characters are all flawed and complex in their own ways. And I love the depiction of Seagull, who is now one of my favourite neuroatypical character. I love all the musical references, especially the Beatles ones, and I love that this book made me look up The Millionaires’ “The Wishing Well”, because now I have a new favourite!

– previously posted on Weebly


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