Jocks and hipsters. Frats and sororities. Drinking rituals and cafeteria food. Cheap dorm-room decor and never-been-cleaned off-campus apartments. From all-nighters to one-night-stands, this is life at college. For Natalie Bloom, a beautiful, shy, twenty-year-old senior, it is everything she has ever craved – and feared.
College senior Natalie Bloom is beautiful and ambitious, but also incredibly insecure and painfully uncomfortable with the subject of sex—let alone the act. She’s awkward at developing friendships with girls, but it’s sexual attention from boys that really makes her lose her cool. At age twenty, she’s a virgin—never having had a boyfriend. Avoiding her peers, Natalie hides out most weekends in the library. That is, until she meets Patrick, her fantasy (she thinks) of a cultured, intellectual Prince Charming—and everything changes. But the more time they spend together, the more Patrick brings out her worst insecurities. Natalie loses her virginity before she’s ready, and as their sexual activity escalates, Natalie’s emotional responses become dangerously self-destructive. Ultimately, she must take extreme measures to reclaim her sense of self, her confidence, and her ambition.
College Girl is the story of Natalie Bloom, who comes from a family dominated by her crowd of older brothers. A good girl, Natalie has more ambitions than the rest of her siblings and hopes to be the first college grad in her family. After working her butt off, bringing home perfect grades and attending a local community college, she finally gets accepted into the University Of Connecticut. However, once there, Natalie realizes the social aspects of college life are going to be much tougher to succeed at then the courses she is taking. It is her determination to fit in amongst her peers that starts her life rolling on a downward slope. But perhaps this is what Natalie Bloom needs, in order to grow as a person, and mature from the shy girl-child she was.
At first glance, I assumed that College Girl would be university themed chick-lit, but this book also takes a look into the character development of an girl determined to make it despite her poor family background. It is a coming-of-age story in which the goody-good girl must face many difficult things and make the wrong decisions in order to break out of her comfort zone. College Girl presents many normal university experiences like parties, dating and social hierarchies, but along with that it examines more serious issues, like death, sex, family dynamics and how our own personal histories impact the person we become.
College Girl was a quick, enjoyable read, although at times it was a bit depressing to see Natalie make the obviously wrong decisions. The writing was well-done, briskly-paced with lots of witty dialogue. The main characters were interesting and easy to follow, although the supporting characters appear much less developed, and slightly cookie-cutter-ish.
College Girl is slated for release in January 2009 as an Adult Fiction title, but I think it may also be attractive to the higher level of Young Adult readers.
About The Author
Patricia Weitz has worked for The Nation, The New Yorker, and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the filmmaker Paul Weitz, and their two children.
Published by Riverhead
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.