Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia

Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 238
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release Date: September 2011
Genre: Contemporary fiction, friendship, 1970s, social/teen issues
Overall Rating: 2/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into eachother's lives when they become roommates. This is a story of 3 paths slowly beginning to cross and merge as they spend the year apart, but the summers together. Through navigating the social-cultural shoals of the school, developing their adolescence, and learning the confusing and conflicting legacies of their families' past, Shirin, Ingrid, and Vivien form an unbreakable bond.

Advertised as being similar to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Dreams of Significant Girls was not at all what I expected it to be. First of all it takes places in the 1970s at a boarding school for wealthy girls. Not only do these girls attend the summer camp to get away from their parents, but to mingle with boys, take drugs, and drink. Perhaps not all of the three girls had these intentions but one girl in particular–Ingrid–was up to no good throughout most of the book. I dislike the atmosphere of the setting so much, after reading a 100 pages, I had to quit. 
The issues and events that came up in the story were not the only thing that bothered me. The plot itself was chaotic and jumped around from past to present, from girl to girl; I felt detached from them. Each character's voice was unique and different–I would have to say that was one of the few "good" things about this book. I did read the ending of Significant Girls and the story seemed to wrap up pretty well.

Overall, I just wasn't pleased with the whole subject of the story: puberty. Honestly it sadden me because I was excited to read Significant Girls. There are too many stories that deal with nothing but this, first hooking ups, etc. Perhaps there is more to the story but in those first 100 pages it seemed like the focal point of the girl's journey.
Also, I must add that the girls on the cover do NOT in anyway resemble girls from the 70s...I mean where the heck are the bell bottom jeans? The fringe? The babydoll tops? I don't think this was a smart choice for cover art.
So yes this was not the book for me but when choosing to read this book (or not!) my main point is that it was just too much like other books I've read–making it, shall we say, a not-so significant story. (Ages 16+)

Content Awareness
Please be aware that this book contains mature elements such as sexual references/situations, language, drinking, and references to drugs. If you were to "watch" this book as a movie, I would definitely rate it PG-13.

1 comment:

Cass said...

I have no idea why, but I made it to the end of this book. Nothing about this book was charming. It really did nothing for me, and it just can't compare to the Sisterhood. I would not recommend this. I wish I had something positive to say, but I really don't remember anything I liked about it.

Oh, and I completely agree about the cover. Bad choice ~ I actually forgot that it was set in the 70s!

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