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My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher

Published by Wendy Lamb Books

Pages: 192

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: Vanessa is wise beyond her years. She’s never really fit in at school, where all the kids act and dress the same. She’s an artist who expresses her talent in the wacky colors she dyes her hair, her makeup and clothes. She’s working on her biggest art project, and counting the days until she’s grown up and can really start living. That adult world seems closer when Vanessa gets her dream job at the art supply store, Palette, where she worships the couple who runs it, Oscar and Maye. And she’s drawn to a mysterious guy named James, who leads her into new, sometimes risky situations. Is she ready for this world, or not?

Vanessa is who she is, a bright and open spark. Everything about her defines who she is, from her hair to the colorful make-up she dons to every stitch of clothing she wears. She’s an artist. Outside of her art her life revolves around the people she loves the most, her mom and Grampie as well as her two friends Nick and Holly. Vanessa feels like everything in her life is right until she decides she needs to risk more and be more than she thinks she already is. Will it work and will those who care about her stand by her through her journey into the unknown?

My Not-So-Still Life is essentially a coming of age story and one that many teens will be able to relate to. Vanessa’s the girl on the outside, not really a rebel but definitely not a conformist. Her life is her art, but there comes a time when all of us question where we are going on our paths and this is where Vanessa is at. She has to decide if she’s happy with coming and going from school, home and work with only her art to define who she is. Her friends support her as well as her single mother and Grandfather, but it’s when she takes a few steps into a different situation than the norm that they all wonder what exactly she’s doing.

This is an extremely quick read. At just under 200 pages I was able to finish it up in a little over an hour. That being said, I wondered about where the story was going because by the time I was on page 60 there still wasn’t much conflict. Everything in Vanessa’s life was pretty much average; she just found a new job, had friends that she loved hanging out with, pined for the boyfriend that got away but not too much, and her mom was her other “best friend.” So the thing is, Vanessa’s life was pretty normal and typical of your average teenager, but for a book I didn’t feel there was enough conflict soon enough to make it a “gripping” read. It’s not that I need a book to have action, adventure, pinning, love triangles (hate those by the way) or any other number of devices to make a book appeal to me I just need something to keep me moving forward. My Not-So-Still Life had some conflict, but not until later in the book and even then it wasn’t overly compelling. Still, that being said, I think there will be quite a few teens who will relate to Vanessa and I’d absolutely recommend it to them.

My Not-So-Still Life is the story of your average teen, Vanessa, struggling to discover just exactly who she wants to be. Is she happy with being the outsider defined by the clothes and hairstyle she has or does she want more? We each make these choices in life and many of us do so during our teen years which is exactly why so many teen readers will relate so well to Vanessa’s journey. My Not-So-Still Life is a coming of age story that will show readers just what it means to be an artist in your own right.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 12 to 17. A fun coming of age story that teen readers will relate to and enjoy as they search to find their own path in life.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Signed Copy of My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher! Ends tonight (5/21/2011) at midnight!

Find My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

This book was provided for review and giveaway courtesy of the author, Liz Gallagher, and her publisher, Wendy Lamb Books. Thank you!

6 Responses to Book Review: My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher

  1. Great honest review. I’m not sure I will read it but I enjoyed your review and dig the cover.

  2. Karen says:

    I’m digging the book cover – speaks so much of the protagonist. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Julia says:

    I LOVE the cover!

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