American Girls by Alison Umminger starts as a tale of a whiny teen girl who stole her step-mom’s credit card and flew across the country to LA to stay with her struggling actress sister. In the beginning I was turned off by Anna as I thought she was just a typical bratty spoiled teen. But as the story progressed I was drawn into her world and I realized that Anna may not have had the best reaction, but her reasons were deeper than even she may have realized.
American Girls started as a typical YA read. Girl is pissed at her parents and skips town to stay with her sister in LA., but the plot had way more depth than that. Anna should have felt protected by the adults around her and instead she was treated as an after thought. Even her summer job, researching the Manson girls, was pressed on her by an adult and was not something she should have been exposed to. Alison Umminger wrote an extraordinary story and had a very lyrical style of story telling. I really enjoyed the way she was able to splice together some very disparate themes and make them all work. The pacing had some wonky moments but I was able to pick the story back up quickly. I enjoyed the world built. Anna had a unique way of looking at the places around her and that was conveyed well. There were plenty of emotions in the tale and while there was some teen drama that was a bit over the top, it all worked well. Out of the entire cast of characters, I only liked Anna. Everyone else was so focused on themselves they were almost awful. Anna though, made every second of dealing with the other characters worth it.
American Girls is a very different YA read. The depth of the story and the underlying focus on a horrific series of events made for such an interesting read. The fish out of water looking in at what should be glamor was also very intriguing. This is Alison Umminger’s debut, and if this is her first, I can only imagine how good her second will be. She is definitely an author to keep an eye on, as there is a lot of talent there.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.