Virginia Shreves is back in this follow up to «The Earth, my Butt and Other Big Round Things».
Q: Is it absolutely necessary to read the first book?
No, I haven’t read it and didn’t feel like I missed anything. Just treat this as a completely new book and you will be fine.
Q: Did it make me want to purchase and read the first book?
Also, no. I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters and only the shortness of the book made me plunge through it till the end.
Virginia Shreves’ world implodes again in this long-awaited follow-up to Printz Honoree The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.
Sixteen-year-old Virginia Shreves’ life is finally back on course: she’s accepted who she is inside and out and is rebuilding her relationship with brother Byron, whose date-rape charge shattered everything.
But just as she adjusts to her new normal, her world turns upside down again. Sparks with boyfriend Froggy fade, her best friend bombshells bad news, and then the police arrest Byron. As Virginia struggles to cope, she meets Nate, an artist with his own baggage. The pair vow not to share personal drama. But secrets have a way of coming out, and theirs could ruin everything.
Just in time for The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things’ 15th anniversary, Virginia’s hope-filled story of love, friendship, and the beauty in imperfection continues, by acclaimed author Carolyn Mackler.
Disclaimer: *Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.*
Virginia is now 16. She has a boyfriend and she doesn’t hate her body as much as she used to. We learn this from the very first pages, and Virginia adds “I’ll never be a twig, but I’ve learned to embrace my curves”.
She might have “embraced her curves” as she says, but her family didn’t. Or maybe it is all in Virginia’s head, but I didn’t like a single person from Shreves family (and there are another 4 Shreves, mind you!).
In the beginning, it seemed that her brother Byron would have a bigger arc in the book, as the whole plot revolved around the rape accusation and how Virginia and her family reacted to it. However, we’ve seen and heard very little of Byron, and the subject of rape was only introduced to collide these two families against each other, at least that’s how I felt about it.
Virginia’s sister, Anais – this perfectly beautiful, clever and selfless girl, turned out to be very judgemental and not that different from the grown-up Shreves, who, in turn, were portrayed as dull, plane and ignorant couple. Virginia didn’t have anything good to say about them, and the information that I gathered summarizes into:
MOM = loves to maintain the appearance of “happy family” and shove everything under a rug + counts the calories injected by the family;
DAD = drools over hot young tree pruners + ignores the wishes and likes of his children.
As to Virginia herself, she was funny, she was witty, but she wasn’t likable.
«Even though I am with Froggy and therefore off boyfriend market, I always freeze around cute guys.»
Even though the Author tried to introduce more serious subjects than cute guys, lusty boys, and bagels, I felt like they were just thrown at Virginia to see how she reacts and then readers attention would be drawn again to her love life.
«The Universe is Expanding and so am I» was not the worse contemporary, but it lacked something for me. There were a break-up and a new love, family and friends drama, first job and insecurities, but I would be much more satisfied with a lesser amount but of well-developed plot steps.
On a positive note, I loved how Sebastian compared Virginia to Leela from Futurama, and drew her with two eyes (instead of one) because Virginia was “too pretty to have one”.
Have you read any of Carolyn Mackler books? Maybe you completely disagree with me and are in love with Virginia? Comment down below!