Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
Reasons for reading: I like Rachel Cohn's books; Young Adult Challenge
Description: "Very LeFreak has a problem: she’s a crazed technology addict. Very can’t get enough of her iPhone, laptop, IMs, text messages, whatever. If there’s any chance the incoming message, call, text, or photo might be from her supersecret online crush, she’s going to answer, no matter what. Nothing is too important: sleep, friends in mid-conversation, class, a meeting with the dean about academic probation. Soon enough, though, this obsession costs Very everything and everyone. Can she learn to block out the noise so she can finally hear her heart?"
First line: "It wasn't the fact that Starbucks did not - would not - serve Guinness with a raw egg followed by an espresso chaser that was ruining Very's hangover."
My thoughts: I have mixed feeling about this book and its heroine. It seems to fall into more of a college-age reading level than teen and I'd hestitate to give it to younger readers. While there's not really a lot of explicit sex, it's talked about a lot in a way that's nothing for older readers but seems like TMI for younger ones. And for me, sometimes! While she doesn't have a lot of actual sex, Very seems to toy with a lot of people, both male and female.
The book is divided into 2 sections - Very's life at college as a super-partier but schoolwork-slacker with her roommate and two male friends, one of whom she sleeps with and breaks his heart. Very herself I found both loveable and hateable. And really, she's a really messed-up young woman (her single mother died of an overdose when she was a young teen, Very blames herself) who basically hits rock bottom and knows she has to do better. She's charming and energetic, but really over-the-top and while she seems to really care about people, she's not very good at actually respecting their feelings or boundaries or sometimes realizing people exist beyond just being of use to her. Her insistence on calling her roommate Lavinia when her name is actually Jennifer is an indication of this (although it's meant as a term of endearment, she also refuses to use the girl's proper name). The second half of the book comes when Very's addiction to technology (her iPhone, iPod, and laptop are pretty much attached to her at all times, even when she's sleeping) hits rock bottom. That her addiction is to machines rather than drugs or alcohol was an interesting twist - it made the rehab section of the book a bit more interesting than if it was for the usual vices. And the director of the rehab facility, Dr. Joy, provided some funny moments with her absolute ban on technology and use of the "patients" as basically slave labour.
I really came to feel Very's pain and was cheering for her by the end. The book ends on a sweet, hopeful note that I was glad to see. I would definitely recommend this to college-age chicks, but for a YA novel it was just a bit too odd and sexed-up for me to be a super fan.