With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and “unique learning profile,” Danielle Levine doesn’t fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a “social skills” class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle’s resolve to keep everyone at arm’s length starts to crumble.
This is one of those books as soon as I started I couldn’t stop reading. It had been on my TBR list for awhile. I was lucky and got on the hold list at the library early and it came in just around the time a fellow blogger (and someone I harass a lot on twitter cause I want her to be my frand) Jamie. While I don’t always agree with Jamie, I see where she comes from when she reviews a book, this book it was easy to tell that she loved and adored it and that gave me hope.
Oh did I love and adore this book. Told from the point of Danielle in essay and journal form, one comes to find out we all have a bit of Danielle in them. For example, Danielle’s brain works a lot like mine does, where it gets fixated on one thing and doesn’t let go of that. My brain does that extremely well. Which I understand not only says a lot about Danielle, but says a lot about me. I also related to her essay writing because she very much writes the way she thinks which often equals word vomit, something her teacher doesn’t always approve of for formal writing.
Throughout her senior year Danielle goes through a tremendous amount of growth that is not only recognizable to herself, but to those around her. Danielle is hilarious, often without meaning to be, because she is so authentic and true to herself. As Danielle has OCD it is interesting to see how that affects her daily life, and it does, but at the same time she has a strong support system through Daniel, her aunt, and this hilarious elderly British woman.
This book is not all light heartedness, though. Danielle goes through a growing period with “the love of her life” while at the same time dealing with the fact she is getting memories back that she once forgot.
Roedy Vaughn has written a stellar debut novel. I cannot wait to see what more comes from her, because if it is anything like Danielle and her love of the Dude, I will be happy to read it.