Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Shrinking Violet

Here's my review for Shrinking Violet, a YA novel from the secular market.

Book Cover and Synopsis:
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out—doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sassy Sweet T—and to everyone’s shock, she’s a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ’s awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest—and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize—Sweet T’s dream could turn into Tere’s worst nightmare....

My Thoughts:
As someone who's been labeled "shy" countless times, I'm always drawn to stories that feature shy or introverted characters. After reading the back cover of this one, I was anxious to see what the contents held and I quickly snapped it up.

I found Teresa to be a likeable heroine, so it's easy to root for her to succeed. The portrayal of her shyness is well done and the situations it creates for her are very authentic, sometimes painfully so. As for Teresa's family life, it left me feeling somewhat sad and often times shocked. Her mother regularly belittles her, everything from her appearance to her accomplishments. I can't say Teresa was always in the right, but more often than not she did exhibit more maturity than her mother. It's a somber situation, but Teresa does an admirable--though not perfect--job of coping with it.

The radio station setting is unique and quite engaging. It sort of gives you a glimpse of how radio stations work, and what goes on behind the music and voices that fill the airwaves. I really enjoyed the write-a-song contest and the part Teresa plays in it; the climax of the contest is written so vividly that it took no effect at all to "see" the whole scenario play out in my mind. Unfortunately, Teresa's mentor at the station is a sleazy ladies' man who is constantly doing and saying inappropriate things. This was my number one regret with the story, as I found it crude and completely unnecessary.

Despite a few flaws, this is a pretty fun story. Even though I'm older (mid 20's) than the target audience, I still found it enjoyable. Ultimately, I liked the story well enough that I decided to check out the Disney movie adaption, which is titled "Radio Rebel". (The movie is wildly different, but I still found it entertaining.) I would recommend this book for older teens, especially those who have shy tendencies or those who have an interest in radio. 

My Rating: 4 stars

Cautionary Content:
One instance of sh*t, and lesser crude words (h*ll, d*mn, etc) are mildly sprinkled through-out. God's name is misused several times per chapter. Teresa doesn't know who her father is, and her mother admits she doesn't either, saying she was "young and stupid". Teresa's mentor at the radio station is a sleazy ladies' man, and often makes inappropriate comments. It's briefly mentioned that one of the minor characters is gay. Teresa is wrongly called (several times) a "lesbo" by her archenemy at school. There are several (4 or 5, maybe?) crude comments/thoughts about female and male anatomy.


  1. Aw! This sounds really cute, Valerie. No matter that I am not the "target audience" of teen novels, I usually enjoy the ones I've read in the past also. However because of the (unfortunate) uses of profanity and such, perhaps I'll opt for the alternative: the Disney movie.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I too was disappointed with the profanity and the other content issues. I generally try to stay away from that kind of content, and if I'd known beforehand I doubt I would have purchased the book....however, I didn't realize until I started reading. :( At that point I decided to just forge ahead and write the kind of review that I would've found helpful prior to purchasing the book.

    The Disney movie is completely clean, I can't remember anything objectionable at all, aside from maybe one "omg!" exclamation. It's a fun and very "up" feeling movie, and while it's probably not extremely realistic, I still enjoyed it. It's wildly different from the book, which was disappointing in a few situations... but overall I was very glad the movie skipped the iffy content from the book as it gave the plot a more innocent feel.

    Thanks for visiting, Rissi! :)