Thursday, March 17, 2011

LIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten Hubbard

In Like Mandarin, 14-year-old Grace Carpenter would give anything to be like Mandarin Ramey. Mandarin is seventeen, self-assured, irreverent and mysterious; the notorious wild girl of their small Wyoming town.


From Grace: Sure, maybe most of the attention Mandarin got was negative. But it wasn't the kind of disdainful brainfreak attention I got, when I got any at all. Hers was lust. And jealousy. Because even as they condemned her, every single girl wanted to be her.

But nobody more than me.

I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening.

I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I'm so tired of being inside my body.

I would give anything to be like Mandarin.


Grace's fascination with Mandarin borders on obsession. When they're paired together for a project, their explosive friendship rocks Grace's world – which makes Mandarin's betrayal even more devastating.

Okay, I loved this book. There is something strong and sad in the writing. Something powerful and real in the relationships. Something amazing.

And it got me thinking: Was there somebody I would have given anything to be like when I was a teenager?

I had to think hard (and you all know how I feel about that). And I finally came to the conclusion that me, in my insane self-confidence, was fine with who I was. I didn't feel this great need to be someone else, fit in with another crowd, or anything like that.

It's only been later in my life that I've felt this "I wish I could be like her." Or "Wow, my life is so far from hers! What would it be like...?"

And this, of course, leads to dangerous ground. Which is why LIKE MANDARIN will resonate with teenagers and adults alike. We can journey with Grace as she walks the treacherous path; we can examine our own lives and find our solid ground; we can realize the beauty of ourselves.

And that's why LIKE MANDARIN is fabulous.

So what about you? Was there someone you would have given anything to be like when you were a teenager? What about now? Why did/do you want to be like this person?

Let me know, and you could win LIKE MANDARIN! Kirsten has her blog tour going right now, and at the end, she'll be drawing winners for LM. Find out more here.

Anyone who leaves a comment here on this post, will be entered to win a super-sweet LIKE MANDARIN swag pack (signed bookmarks + magnets + postcard). And you're tweeting your posts, right? Or your #IWantToBeLike stuff? Because LiLa Roecker and I are giving away two copies of Like Mandarin from that feed--this Saturday!


Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

31 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I've only read the first couple chapters and I can't wait. Kirsten's voice was powerful and I was totally hooked!

DRC said...

During my earlier years at school, yeah, I wanted to be like some of the other girls - pretty and confident - but then as the years went on, I discovered more about myself and began to like who I was. I was creatively talented in ways they were not. Now I look back on those people and I'm so glad I didn't become like them or my adult life would have been completely different.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I wanted to be like the popular girls in school. Since I was so not one. Now I'm much more comfortable being me. That's awesome you were confident enough not to want to be anyone else. And don't go starting wanting that now. You're totally awesome.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

I was one of the popular kids. HOWEVER, I really liked all the "nerds" for no other reason than I didn’t like the way they were treated!
That’s why I love creating characters who are under dogs and they always prevail!

Matthew MacNish said...

I haven't read it, but I bet I would like it, in spite of the lack of sword fights. I'm a sucker for poetic prose, and from what I hear Kirsten's is some of the most beautiful writing out there.

Kelly said...

I think I admired others and maybe wanted some of their traits, but mostly I was glad to be me! :)

Theresa Milstein said...

There were several people I wanted to be like at different times.

1) Twins who wore matching turquoise unicorn sweatoutfits in junior high. I know, sad. But they were cut and blonde, and matching sweatshirt/sweatpant combos were all the rage.

2) My good friend's mother. She looked like Pauline Porizkova with dark hair. She'd gone to Ford Modeling agency when she was younger. She was told to lose 10 lbs and return. She decided she didn't want to be that hungry to model. She wore Shalimar. For years, I wore Shalimar because of her.

3). The BF I already wrote about on my last post.

Anne N Kenny said...

I remember working at Blockbuster in HS and watching couples come in holding hands, searching for a movie. I always wanted a normal relationship like all of those girls I envied.

If I only knew it would only be 2-3 more years before I met The One.

Carrie Harris said...

I want eyes the color of tea. Or maybe I just want tea. ;)

Carrie said...

Can't wait to read this book. I wanted to be like my aunt when I was a kid. Later I was pretty happy being me.

Carolyn V said...

The book sounds so excellent! I can't wait to get my hands on it! Whoop!

Angela Felsted said...

The blurb is gorgeous. The cover is gorgeous. The idea behind the book is gorgeous. Even this post is gorgeous. I want to be like Kirsten Hubbard!

erica m. chapman said...

I'm SO going to get this one. Great review. You know, I have no idea who I wanted to be like... Probably someone/thing lame like a muppet or a fraggle or something. Well, fraggles were pretty cool, come to think of it, muppets were too. That's how my crazy brain worked back then... who are we kidding, now. Ha!

Great post, E ;o)

jpetroroy said...

I always admired the confident girls in middle school. I love the description of this book.

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

LeishaMaw said...

I'm like you, I want to be like so many people now that I'm um not so young. Why is that?

The book sounds fascinating.

Jessy said...

I would like to be more like my older sister. She is smart and worldly. I would love to be able to just pick up and travel the way she does.

ashelynn sanford said...

I posted my like mandarin on my blog, for road trip wednesday a week ago. :D

Now that I really think of it, I kinda want to be like anybody I admire. Take pieces of them and make a whole new person.

ali said...

That was beautiful E.

jpetroroy said...

Beautiful post. I always wanted to be like my friend Laura--confident.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm about 1/3 of the way into the book and I've fallen in love with Kirsten's writing style. It's so beautiful :)

Jeff King said...

The book sounds awesome... thx.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I agree! Will resonate with teens and adults alike. I think I still have people I wish I could be like. Like for example, I wish I could be one of those people that always has a witty comeback or one of those people that never says the wrong things or sticks a foot in their mouths. But, eh, I am who I am I guess. I can improve myself, but I can't make myself someone else.

But, great review, Elana! I think it was spot on.

melissa said...

This sounds like an interesting read. There were lots of times in HS when I felt like I desperately needed to be part of the cool crowd. Everything they did just seemed so awesome. But now that I'm older I look back and can't imagine why I couldn't just be comfortable with myself and my great friends.

Great review.

Emily said...

Because of you, I bought this book. And I'm loving it!

Meredith said...

Can't wait to get my hands on this book! When I was in high school, I wanted to be some kind of combination of the best parts of my friends. Thank goodness for life after high school when you can figure out that you like who you are!

Bethany Wiggins said...

I'm the opposite of you. In high school (or more middle school) I always wanted to be Suzette Saxton (my big sister). Now, as an adult, I'm really content to be who I am, where I am, how I am and what I am. Maybe even to the point of being flawed! I'm REALLY content.

Vivien said...

I never really wanted to be like anyone in the real world. I always wanted to be these paranormal creatures from novels. That's what I would day dream about :)

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Myrna Foster said...

I wanted to be more like my mom. That may sound lame, but it's still true.

Truth Be Told Blog said...

When I was a teenager I would have given anything to be like Rochelle Ballard. I massively sucked at surfing but I had this undying passion for it.

It was sad, I still can't really stand up.

Val at Truthbetold004 at gmail dot com
Truth Be Told Blog

L.T. Elliot said...

I really need this book. Like today.

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