Gridley Girls by Meredith First. Tempe: SparkPress, 2016. 400 pages. **** A Gridley Girls Guide to Seventies Pop Culture, A mini yearbook of pictures, A Reader's Club Guide, and An excerpt from the upcoming Gridley Girls Reunited.
In this semi-autobiographical first book in the series, Meg Monahan and her friends are known as The Group in her hometown of Gridley, California. Meg is the youngest of four daughters in a close-knit family and born to be the keeper of secrets in her family and for her friends. She also keeps diaries of her life during the 70s and names them the Virgin Diaries, because "while most enter high school as a virgin, few leave as one." Flash forward 2008 and Meg is planning the wedding of her best friend Anne and contemplating a move with her family to Minneapolis. Anne wants to read the diaries and seems to be searching for something. Flashing back and forth between 1978-1979 and 2008, Meg revisits her high school years while working through her current dilemma.
First portrays a realistic look from a 1970s viewpoint of current social issues: gay marriage, abortion, religion, betrayal, and death. A heartwarming story of friendship, love, and acceptance. At times, the transitions between chapters were a bit confusing, but it did not take away from the story. Meg's story will make you laugh and cry and wish you had kept a journal of your teenage years. I know mine would not have been as interesting as hers. I recommend this title for a Book Club Choice, many discussion topics, and cultural 70s references.
I received an ebook copy of this book for a review.
Meredith First left an insanely great recruiting career with Apple, Inc., to write the books that were literally haunting her dreams---books for anyone who survived high school with a little help from her friends. After studying abroad at the University of London, she received a communications/broadcasting degree from Oregon State University. Through the donation of 10% of her income from Gridley Girls, she hopes to help people who struggle with similar issues that she experienced. She lives in Minneapolis and Sacramento and is hard at work on book two in the series.
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