by Barbara | 2/4/2014
" At first glance, the cover of this book might fool you into taking it lightly. Then again, the more I look at it, the more I see some of the symbolism and the connections to the book's theme of empowerment and becoming environmentally conscious. To tell the truth, I ended up liking this one more than I had expected to. The premise behind the story is that three girls, all quite different, have a crush on the new boy at their high school in Clifton Springs. While two of them, Maya and Sicilee, have been rivals throughout school and are determined to be the one that Cody Lightfoot notices amd will go to any lengths to make that happen, the other one, Waneeda can only dream of basking in his reflected wonder. Because he's into the green movement, they join the Environmental Club, a decidedly unpopular group before his arrival. When I first started reading the book, I figured that Sicilee and Maya would end up cancelling each other out with all their efforts since really they are competing more to win than to get the guy, and that improbably but satisfyingly, Waneeda would discard her candy bars and her malaise, and somehow, she and Cody would cycle off into the sunset. It COULD have happened, after all, and I would have felt satisfied. But the author doesn't take that path; instead, when all the smoke from the battle for Cody has cleared, no one gets the boy, and it turns out that he really only has eyes for himself.
From the book's first pages, I loved the author's voice. Clearly, she's spent time in the halls of today's high schools and has identified the social pecking order that exists within those halls. But part of what makes this title so fresh and appealing is that she deviates from the expected path. While the girls' initial interest in Cody may have led them to the environmental movement, all three are responsible for the changes they make in their lives. Uber-consumer Sicilee ends up shopping at a thrift store and walking to school. Maya wears plastic bottles in an attempt to educate passersby about the long life of plastic. Waneeda plants a garden. All three change for the better, and while their friends aren't exactly supportive, in the end, they understand those changes. The changes in the girls are subtle, happening almost before they realize that they are changing, and are often described in such amusing fashion. For instance, when Sicilee heads off to the mall with her friends, she can't stop herself from reading the labels of the make-up being considered, and wondering about its ingredients. If there's a lot happening in the book and the ending seems a bit too good to be true, the author still takes readers on a delightful journey, informing us along the way. Her acknowledgment provides books, documentaries, and websites to inform those interested in the issues raised in the book. "