If you were a teen in the early 1990s or are interested in the grunge music scene, this book is for you.
Note: this book has a bookcrossing.com sticker inside the cover.
Andrea Marr is sixteen and just beginning to figure out her place between high school norm and alternative music world at the start of this novel. Things begin moving when her friend C shaves her head for someone by the name of Todd Sparrow, joins a band, and starts moving up in the local music scene.
As Andrea gets pulled into this fascinating but intimidating world of rock and roll and sex, she loses some friends and makes new ones, has sex with a couple of boys...but her one consuming obsession is with the awe-inspiring Todd Sparrow, a successful but yet unsigned rockstar whose passionate sex sweeps Andrea away. Never mind that she knows she's exhibiting groupie behavior; she's fine with being one of Todd's girlfriends, as long as she IS one of them.
However, life cannot be all about hearing her friend's band play at local clubs and longing for a boy who's away more often than he's here. Andrea must learn to grow up and appreciate the meaning of "better to love than never love at all" if she wants to be ready for the exciting next world of college.
GIRL's language can seem a bit run-on-y after a while, but Andrea speaks the angst of a unique high school girl very well. It seems, sometimes, that her world consists too much of music and sex and Todd Sparrow, and not enough of other things, but readers learn to accept Andrea for who she is: a flawed, confused young woman still finding her place and interests in this difficult world.
Published in the mid-1990s, Nelson's debut was originally released as adult fiction. The titular girl is Andrea, a boring wallflower who undergoes a transformation in between her freshmen and sophomore year. Falling in the footsteps of Angela Chase from My-So-Called-Life and inspired by her friend, Sybil, Andrea goes from Plain Jane to alterna-chic. The story follows her until high school graduation.
Something I liked about this book, and what may have been the reason it was originally published as an adult novel, is the sexual autonomy given to Andrea. In many female coming-of-age stories the girl is seen as a victim of male sexuality, often pressured into sexual situations by boys/men. Rarely are teenage girls portrayed as enjoying sex, especially without judgement, or punishment (in the form of broken hearts, sexually transmitted diseases/infections, or pregnancy). In Girl, Andrea has and enjoys sex. She also doesn't enjoy sex, but isn't traumatized by it. There are situations, early on, where she is pressured to have sex. I felt like these situations were dealt with in a way that doesn't make Andrea a victim and allows her to have her own voice.
Something I didn't like about this book was it's redundancy. I felt like it could have been shorter and more concise. I also would have liked to know more about some of the minor characters, like Sybil.
Overall a decent read. I would recommend this for a mature young adult reader or someone who came of age during the 1990s.
Written poorly by a man who knows nothing about teenage girls. Was made into a movie starring Dominique Swain and Portia DeRossi.