about a girl book coverReviewed by Jenna Arthur

About a Girl is the story of one young woman’s journey to find sexuality, identity, family, and purpose. Atalanta, or Tally for short, is a young girl approaching her 18th birthday. She is struggling with finding herself amidst the chaos that has been her life. Tally set a path for herself – astronomer, physics, brains, study, etc.- in order to feel some stability and push back the questions ringing in her ears. But internally, Tally is struggling desperately with every other aspect of her life.

Born to a mother who abandoned her, Tally was adopted by her aunt and her non-biological uncle. She spends her time around them, around her grandmother, and with her best friend, Shane. Her life is not bad and she loves her family but her mother’s abandonment and lack of closure about her parents has left Tally with more questions than answers. Now, about to start her life, Tally decides she must know.

As the story starts, Tally begins to evolve quickly. She begins transforming into a woman who has wants and desires she’s never known before and begins having irresistible feelings towards her long time and transgender best friend, Shane. However, after a sexual encounter, Shane seems to disappear setting Tally into an emotional tailspin. She’s determined to find out more about Aurora, the mother she’s never know, find a father she’s unsure exists and escape from the home and feelings that have left her emotionally confused. When she leaves to meet her suspected father, Jack, she does not find the answers she so desperately craves but another side of her personality and sexuality she has never known before.  Throughout her plight to know Jack, Tally ends up falling in love with a woman, Maddy, who is wild, different, and free. From then on, her life is set on a tailspin that changes her forever.

Reading the synopsis of the story’s plot may draw in the book’s intended readers; however, unlike the simple description on the book’s jacket, About a Girl is unfortunately wordy and in the end would be confusing to most readers in its young adult demographic. The book’s characters are understandable and although you desperately want to identify with Tally, the overuse of needlessly complex and overly descriptive wording and paragraph construction makes About a Girl hard to read.  The story’s plot is admirable but the execution is sadly lacking. It’s a disappointing end to a highly anticipated young adult and LGBT read.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Jenna lives in the bustling city of Pittsburgh with her wife and furry children. She loves to cook, watch movies, and looks for inspiration in every book she reads.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.