Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.
I had really high hopes for this book. I’d read an interview on another author’s blog with Lauren Myracle and she talked about setting her books in Atlanta because she grew up here. I thought this would be a refreshing change from reading books set in NYC or LA. Well, it wasn’t much of a change. I guess it was just equal opportunity because all this book proved is that you don’t have to live in NYC or LA to be a rich, vapid mean-girl. The book was set in Buckhead which should have been sign #1 that I wasn’t going to like it. I don’t have anything against Buckhead itself. I have family that lives there and I love them dearly. I don’t have anything against the “elite” Atlanta private schools. Again, I have family that went to one of them. But I did have a problem with the description of the rest of Atlanta. The one that got to me the most – people that live in Little Five Points are cocaine using lesbians. Huh. As it turns out, I live in L5P and have never used any illegal drugs and I’m not a lesbian. Yes, it was a minor part of the book, but it was reiterated a few times towards the beginning and really turned me off. I mean, seriously? A fifth grader wanted to leave a friend’s birthday party because the mom had a ladybug tattoo on her wrist? The part that amused me the most was that Carly probably actually would have liked and fit in in L5P if she wasn’t so busy being condescending.
There were redeeming moments when I did like Carly and felt she was making a breakthrough, but then she’d do something stupid and I’d lose respect for her again. I felt the book tried to tackle subjects like religion and racism and kind of failed. I struggled with Carly’s relationship with Anna. There were parts of it that seemed absolutely authentic. I have a sister that’s two years older than me, and we went through some of the issues Carly and Anna dealt with, so it was interesting to read the “big sister” POV, but usually it left me wanting the explain the “little sister” POV to Carly for Anna, or explain to Anna that she didn’t have to always be in need of rescue.
So in the end, I was left a little empty. I kept waiting for Anna and Carly to grow up, and I guess they did a little in the end, but I spent most of the book a little annoyed with both of them. I really liked Vonzelle and Roger and even Peyton when she wasn’t saying “JK. LOL. Enter.” I’d like to read a book about Vonzelle.
Lauren Myracle is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.