Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Crazy in Love by Dandi Daley Mackall

Do you ever feel like you suffer from split personality or hear voices in your head or have a little devil and angel sitting on your shoulder? This book explores the inner conflict that many people have, especially when it comes to the opposite sex.

Mary Jane has two voices in her head: Plain Jane who insists she's nothing spectacular and no one will ever be interested in her, and M.J. who believes she's sexy and worth having. These two voices try to help Mary Jane figure out what to do in the dilemma known as Jackson House. Jackson is dating Mary Jane's two-faced "friend," Star, but now everyone thinks there's something going on between him and Mary Jane. This rumor all stems from the fact that they spent four minutes alone together on a trip for more pop during a friend gathering. Soon Star's spreading rumors and Mary Jane's getting incessant phone calls from boys wanting "a good time," which leads to everyone in school hating her. To make matters worse, Jackson really does like her and the two of them start kissing in his car late at night. According to Plain Jane he couldn't possibly be genuinely interested in her, but M.J. is going crazy with the excitement of where this all could lead. Eventually he chooses Mary Jane and the two start an intense relationship that causes her to question just how far she'll go, especially when a "friend" tells her that Star expects Jackson back when he doesn't get what he wants out of Mary Jane. Is she willing to do it despite her Abstinence in Action pact like her friend Alicia, or will she hold out?

I think this book is an essential read for girls getting into relationships. While much of this book revolves around whether or not she should pursue anything with Jackson, especially with Star lurking around, the subtext of becoming sexually involved is what really makes this novel stand out. Before the world of Jackson for Mary Jane and the world of college for Alicia, the girls made a pact with another friend (Red) known as AIA (Abstinence in Action). They decided to stay virgins until they meet their one true love. For Alicia, that came in the form of Colt who she met in college and she decides to leave AIA for him. Mary Jane now struggles to decide whether or not Jackson is her one. While Alicia is more or less saying "go for it" just like M.J. would, her friend Red emphasises waiting to marriage like she's doing with her longtime boyfriend Alex (Red represents Plain Jane.) This becomes the ultimate struggle that teens face in this overly sexed society and I felt as though this book did a good job of addressing it without being over the top. The reader isn't bogged down with horror stories of what can happen, although there is the casual mention of pregnancy and STDs. At the same time, it isn't encouraging with the mantra that "everyone's doing it." The end of the novel does a good job of representing the emotions felt when "the one" doesn't feel the same way (something hormonal people tend to forget to consider) and describing the awkward conversation of "Will we or won't we tonight."

I enjoyed this novel. I liked the approach to the topic of sex that overpowers certain books. This one has a good message and, overall, just urges us to listen to those voices that we hear because each one presents a side of the argument that we need to hear.

1 comment:

Dandi said...

Hi--A friend pointed me to your review of my YA, CRAZY IN LOVE, and I'm grateful to discover your wonderful website. Thanks so much for the thorough review of this book. You've cut to the heart of the "take-away" of the novel, I think. And it's nice to know I'm not the only one who hears voices in her head.

Happy reading--Dandi
Dandi Daley Mackall