Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Don't Call Me Baby

Don't Call Me Baby
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Page Count: 304
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I was initially attracted to Don't Call Me Baby because of the blog aspect. As a blogger, I was interested to read about how blogging impacted the family dynamic. My family is lucky that I blog about books and not about my day to day life - not that I would have anything negative to write about my family, but it would be odd to expose all of their business for the entire world to read. 

I went into this one planning to be firmly on Imogene's side. As the daughter of a mommy blogger, she has grown up in front of a digital audience. Growing up is difficult enough, but I cannot imagine all of my happy moments and embarrassing moments being broadcasted for public consumption. As much as I love technology, I am happy that my teen years were experienced before social media and iphones. Growing up in this era presents a set of challenges that I never fathomed. However, as the novel progressed, I begin to understand Meg, Imogene's mother, a little more. I found that both Imogene and Meg were both at fault in the tension in their relationship.

In addition to the blogging and mother/daughter relationship, I also enjoyed the friendship between Imogene and Sage. I think the evolution of their friendship was realistic and sent a powerful message. I remember as a teen that it was always hard for me to accept when my friends grew and changed because it always impacted our friendship. I was resistant to change and in some ways I still have trouble handling it, but it is a part of life. I liked see two girls who are able to grow and still remain friends.

Overall, I found this to be a cute, fun read that had some important undertones. I was expecting a fluffy, cotton candy read. There were certainly those moments, but this one is also an important look at family and friendship. I also enjoyed that this one would appeal to younger teens as well since the main character is 15; it's also a clean read with some great messages. 

One Last Gripe: There were moments when I was so frustrated with Imogene or her mother that I wanted to stop reading. I'm glad I battled through their whining and self absorbed moments.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the moments between Imogene and her family that happened outside of the blog. One of my favorite scenes was the one on the beach with Imogene, her dad, and her grandmother.

First Sentence: Do you know what it's like to be recognized at the mall by random moms pushing strollers when you're just trying to hang out with your friends?

Favorite Character: Imogene

Least Favorite Character: I didn't dislike anyone. By the end, I had learned to understand each of the characters.

All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

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