Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia
publisher: Simon & Schuster
release date: July 12, 2011
hardcover, 256 pages
intended audience: Young adult (my recommendation: 15+)
source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
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 each other'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.
Review: While I didn't absolutely love this one, Dreams of Significant Girls had a strange way of keeping me captive for the few days it took to read it. Watching these three girls from completely different walks of life interact with each other was somehow completely fascinating. The story went along at a bit of a steady, quiet pace. This had a lot to do with the way it was told---alternating perspectives of the three girls and with a journal entry-style tense. Much like you would if you were reading someone's journal, there is a bit of exciting build up as events are anticipated, and then the next paragraph, the event has already happened and you're getting a recap of what went on. It places the reader a little outside of the story, but it was still interesting.
It seemed to make it more realistic to me that I would have moments of really liking and really hating each of the three main characters. Very few people in real life are loveable 100% of the time or always make the right decisions, and in that way, the story was really brought to life. These girls faced difficult situations and decision of all kinds---sometimes they looked to each other, sometimes they dealt with inner-struggles, sometimes they went off the deep end. Much like real life. :) Sometimes I felt the girls acted a little too old for their age, especially Shirin, the Iranian Princess, but that also could have been explained away by her social upbringing. There are some really profound moments throughout the story, but also some really baffling moments as well (the fake fight in the art gallery?) I did love the fact that despite their acute difference, they still managed to bond together and form a strong friendship. On the whole, I enjoyed this one. Despite its few faults, it still comes off as a really fascinating story. It was definitely an interesting book to experience at least once.
Visit Cristina's website here.
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