Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm -- ADVISABLE

Strohm, Stephanie Kate Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink 204 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. $8.99.

Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG; Language: R (~30 swears; 3 'f')

Despite her love of fashion and her affinity for her cell phone, history buff Libby Kelting feels like she was born several centuries too late. When she gets a chance to spend the summer before her senior year working in a historical park in Camden, Maine, she jumps at the chance. But her new circa-1791 life isn't all flouncing around in pretty dresses and flirting with chivalrous gentlemen. While her job is good and she immediately starts up a romance with a cute sailor, her roommate is so difficult that she has to find a new living space. She flees to a ship in the harbor -- one that's rumored to be haunted -- and ends up bunking with an obnoxious, nerdy, and annoyingly cute boy. Libby's summer isn't turning out like she planned, but thanks to positive thinking and a good dose of humor, she's determined to make it work.

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink is a light, funny, fast read that should appeal to romance fans and history buffs alike. Libby's frequent treatises on history not only inject interesting and little-known information into the book, but they make studying the past seem cool. The fact that Libby uses her obscure knowledge to solve a huge mystery sweetens it even more. While her sarcasm sometimes wears a little thin, Libby's sense of humor is also genuinely funny in many spots, and she's a difficult character not to like by the end because she's so upbeat and she knows who she is and what she wants. For example, when a cute guy insists she take a beer even though she finds it gross and is underage, she quickly trades it for root beer when his back is turned. Even better, she doesn't need a boy to stand up for her because she can do that just fine, thank you -- and she does a spectacular job of it in one scene in particular. It's hard to suspend disbelief in a few places -- for example, her original roommate is so extremely rude for no discernible reason, and it's difficult to swallow that the owners of the park would not only let a minor share a bedroom on a boat with a boy, but actually encourage her to do so. Still, in the end this is still an entertaining read.

HS -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by: Caryn

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