My friend Erica Per l's new YA novel, Vintage Veronica , is for the large-hearted among us. Its heroine, Veronica, comes from a proud tradition of underconfident, underappreciated girl protagonists who are too certain of their ugly duckling status to make the smallest move of friendship. Embarrassed by a game of "I Never" that ends in "I never ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies all at once," Veronica vows to herself never to play with other girls or trust other people. At 15, she hides out in a Dollar-a-Pound clothing store, choosing a few fashion finds to hang from a storage rack so she can dream about and draw them. Along come a pair of mean-ish girls and a shy stock boy with a soft spot for lizards, and Veronica is pulled out of herself. The teenagers are three-dimensional and so are the parents, even if Veronica's mom does wear a thong beneath her yoga pants. This is a book that girls going through a patch of awkwardness will thrill to. Their mothers should read along with them to remember what it feels like.
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