Author: Allison Burnett
Paperback: 293 pages (ARC)
From the back cover:
Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.
- We’re all famous in our own minds.
- Complete honesty is a complete lie.
- What’s worse than keeping a shameful secret?
- All sex has consequences, most of them dire.
- Don’t read my life. Go live your own!
“Imagine an 18-year-old Lolita, updated to the 21st century, blogging her own provocative adventures. By turns charming and crude, disturbingly reckless and achingly tender, Undiscovered Gyrl seduces… Shot through with teenage yearning for ‘true love,’ each page vibrates with the quicksilver spirit of youth. As we follow the narrator on her ever-darkening journey, questions arise about voyeurism and identity in an age of cyber-anonymity. Allison Burnett’s masterful page-turner lingers long after the last page.” -Rachel Resnick, author of Love Junkie
When I saw the banner for this Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett in Shelf Awareness, I was hyper-excited to get my hands on the book, and when I got a positive reply to my email requesting a copy to review, I couldn’t contain myself. It looked interesting and like one of those books you just can’t put down, especially for someone nosey… like me.
So, how did the book hold up to my anticipation?
Honestly, I was surprised by the book. It’s set up as a blog-to-book, and in it you watch as the narrator (the definition of the “unreliable narrator” to be sure) grows as a blogger, and disintegrates in some ways as a person. The idea of being able to be completely open in the anonymity is, at first, a relief and exciting thing for her, later it seems to be something that pushes her to more extreme and outrageous behavior… if for no other reason than to get a reaction from her readers.
Personally, there are parts of this that scare the hell out of me. I have a 16 and 15-year-old, neither of which are really that into blogging and stuff… now. Maggie, on the other hand, is 10 and a bit extroverted. “Katie” tells about her mother and her boyfriend’s fighting, her dad and his girlfriend’s abusive relationship, and how she pits everyone against each other to get what she wants. She continually tells her readers that there is NOTHING sexual behind her boss’s generosity, but relays stories about him in such a way as to leave it almost obvious. She degrades herself over “Dan,” her college instructor on-the-side, and you can’t help but feel pity for her… she so wants to be loved, she’s willing to turn herself into that girl who waits desperately for his girlfriend to go away so she can devour the scraps.
With Undiscovered Gyrl, Allison Burnett reveals a very real picture of the modern teenage life. Unable to read and comprehend a book a year unless assigned by a teacher, but reads and responds to 20 emails, IMs and text messages a second. She couldn’t fathom doing homework without the TV on, CD blaring and the Google open on the computer. It makes me glad I’ve not given any of my kids a cell phone. They don’t have TVs in their bedrooms, even. We just got a second computer last June, so maybe mine will be safe…
Here’s the thing: Undiscovered Gyrl is very graphic and I even learned a few sex-things from reading it. I never knew what a “box job” was before this book. But it’s not porn, per se, and it all goes into the story for a purpose. It is shocking… at least for me, an over-30-parent. “Katie” isn’t totally unsympathetic, yet says things at times that make me want to slap the snot out of her. She’s so stupid and I just want to grab her up and say, “Wake up! You’re throwing your life away!” But, if there’s one thing I got out of this book it’s this: The fact it came from an adult would render it meaningless all together.
I give Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett 5 out of 5 stars… it did NOT disappoint.
Here’s a video made for the book:
Filed under: ARC Challenge, Book Reviews | Tagged: 21st century, Allison Burnett, anonymity, blogging, casual sex, cheat, cyber, diary, fiction, gyrl, high school, high school girl, lolita, sex, Undiscovered Gyrl, unreliable narrator, young adult | 11 Comments »