Books · REVIEWS

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin

“I thought I needed to be a different person, To protect myself. And I gotta say, it worked for a while.”

Sixteen-year-old Aggie Winchester couldn’t care less about who’s elected prom queen-even if it’s her pregnant Goth-girl best friend, Sylvia Ness. Aggie’s got bigger things to worry about, like whether or not her ex-boyfriend wants to get back together and whether her mom will survive cancer.

But like it or not, Aggie soon finds herself in the middle of an unfolding prom scandal, largely because her mom, who is the school’s principal, is rumored to have burned prom ballots so Sylvia won’t be elected queen. Aggie’s own investigation makes her wonder if the election could be dirty on both sides.

Personal Thoughts:

There is a big world out there–bigger than prom, bigger than high school–and it won’t matter if you were the prom queen, the quarterback of the football team or the biggest nerd in school. Find out who you are and try not be afraid of it.

– Josie Geller, Never Been Kissed

The quote above is the epigraph of this book which was taken from one of my favorite film, Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore. So when I pick up this book and saw the epigraph I did expect some similarity from the movie. Though the quote perfectly describe this book, The Implosion of Aggie Winchester deals with a lot of issues that are heavier than the romantic comedy film.

Aggie like so many other high school students just wants to fit in. But being a principal kid isn’t helping, so when one of the students accused Aggie for rattling this student out to her principal mother, Aggie suddenly cast out. Afraid to be alone she discover a new friend in Sylvia. A goth girl who acts tough, dress in all black and wear black make up. Aggie follows Sylvia, she try to look tough and act tough outside because she believes that by doing so, no one will mess up with her. But being tough isn’t just about looking and acting tough because deep inside Aggie has lots of fears that she needs to deal.

The author perfectly capture all the teenager angst and drama. Aggie’s voice as a conflicted teenager is realistically portrayed. Her angst, insecurities, confusions, fears and hopes are clearly laid out and reading from her point of view will make you feel all the thing she’s going through.

At first I don’t like Aggie as a character. I don’t like the way she handle her problems. As much as I want to sympathize with her for being stuck in a situation she doesn’t much want to, I don’t really find her as the victim. Maybe she suffered for being the principal’s kid but whatever happens after that is all about her choice. She chooses to go goth and pretend to be tough outside but the truth is, she is just as vulnerable as she is inside. Pretensions never help anyone. Wearing a mask to hide your true identity doesn’t make sense especially if you don’t even enjoy wearing the mask in the first place.

But I don’t hate Aggie, she may not be the best role model or the best character to read but she is definitely not bad. Beneath the goth make-up and all black outfit she always wear, Aggie is a loving person. She is just too caught up with all these highschool drama around her. And being a teenager doesn’t really help.

The prom is a bit overwhelming, there are so much drama and issues involve that somehow I find it unrealistic. Why is the prom queen issue needs to be in local news? I don’t get it, there are much more important issues other than prom.

But behind the overly scripted prom this book also offers a lot of real issues like Aggie’s struggle to be accepted and respected. She is just a misunderstood girl who is trying to find her place. Sometimes lost and hard-headed but surely redeemable. She is a smart kid who cares about what is happening around her but just don’t know how to deal with everything at once. The issues with her goth best friend, her ex-boyfriend, her mom’s cancer and the prom scandal are all too big for her to handle but she tried her best to face all these issues. Because in the end she believes in doing the right thing, even it is not the easiest thing to do.

This book also got some foul languages which I find unnecessary. Though it is obvious that Aggie and her best friend Sylvia were the kind of teenagers who uses foul language most of the time, I don’t think that the author needs to write that much F-word in almost every other page. She could have lessened it, because instead of sending an impact about these teens’ characters it just make them more awful to read.

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester is like a soap opera, full of teenage angst and drama. But deep within all the drama this book offers a tale of self-discovery and self-acceptance. It shows the importance of being real and making a stand for what you believe in.

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3 thoughts on “The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin

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