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Ordinary Girls
Cover of Ordinary Girls
Ordinary Girls
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*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019*

Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski and Jenny Han, this heartfelt and humorous contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters—complete opposites—who discover the secrets they've been keeping make them more alike than they'd realized.

For siblings as different as Plum and Ginny, getting on each other's nerves is par for the course. But when the family's finances hit a snag, sending chaos through the house in a way only characters from a Jane Austen novel could understand, a distance grows between them like never before.

Plum, a self-described social outcast, finally has something in her life that doesn't revolve around her dramatic older sister. But what if coming into her own means Plum isn't there for Ginny when she, struggling with a hard secret of her own, needs her most?

*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019*

Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski and Jenny Han, this heartfelt and humorous contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters—complete opposites—who discover the secrets they've been keeping make them more alike than they'd realized.

For siblings as different as Plum and Ginny, getting on each other's nerves is par for the course. But when the family's finances hit a snag, sending chaos through the house in a way only characters from a Jane Austen novel could understand, a distance grows between them like never before.

Plum, a self-described social outcast, finally has something in her life that doesn't revolve around her dramatic older sister. But what if coming into her own means Plum isn't there for Ginny when she, struggling with a hard secret of her own, needs her most?

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    740
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Blair Thornburgh is the author of several books for kids and teens. Her first novel, Who's That Girl, was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. A graduate of the University of Chicago and of Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, she lives outside of Philadelphia (in real life) and at www.blairthornburgh.com (online).

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2019
    Self-contained, responsible Plum, long eclipsed by her brilliant, exhausting older sister, Ginny, breaks free when domestic disasters reshape the family landscape. The sisters' beloved Victorian home needs costly maintenance. That's not happening on their artist mother's teaching income and book royalties, even with a paying tenant. Their deceased father's life-insurance payout covers tuition at the girls' Philadelphia private school. Financial stress aside, the all-white, all-female trio, plus pets, is close-knit, though Ginny, a senior whose Ivy League hopes rest on winning a hefty scholarship, feels overwhelmed. Plum, 15--shy at school, assertive at home--soothes her, shouldering household tasks Ginny's too agitated or busy for and their distracted mother overlooks. As they're coping with a financial blow that coincides with a plumbing emergency, Ginny ditches her family for Thanksgiving. Feeling abandoned, Plum keeps her hesitant, fledging friendship with outgoing, popular Tate Kurokawa (implied biracial white Jewish/Japanese), her social opposite, secret. When she's hired to tutor Tate, their awkward, confusing affinity grows. The sisters' relationship--what pulls them apart, what draws them together when their connection is strained--is the story's beating heart. While there's romance, this is no pink-coded, Austen retread but a well-told, universally human--regardless of gender--tale about teens discovering who they are, where they want to go, and how to get there. This wise, funny, thoroughly contemporary coming-of-age tale earns bonus points for acing the Bechdel test. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 6, 2019
    In this contemporary reimagining of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, 15-
    year-old Plum Blatchley is the quiet, introspective foil to her dramatic, excitable sister, 18-year-old Ginny. Their illustrator mother’s small but steady royalty payments unexpectedly lost, Plum worries that they’ll be unable to keep their beloved old home, and Ginny’s anxiety about paying for college reaches a fever pitch. As the family scrambles to make ends meet, Plum develops a secret relationship with “Loud Sophomore Boy” Tate and begins to question her identity independent of her family and her late father’s authorial legacy. Though the setting and dialogue are firmly modern, the Blatchleys continually reference literature (and related film adaptations) by the likes of Austen and the Brontës, informing the family’s interactions with one another and their surroundings. A realistic depiction of siblinghood, marked by the girls’ mutual frustration with and protectiveness of one another, proves deeply dynamic as each falters and grows. Most of all, Thornburgh’s (Who’s That Girl) exploration of the power of social comedies and books by and about young women—works often deemed insignificant—shines. A funny, beguiling story of sisterhood, burgeoning self-awareness, and first love. Ages 13–up. Agent: Uwe Stender, TriadaUS Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2019

    Gr 8 Up-Patience Mortimer Blatchley-better known as Plum-hates her older sister Ginny almost as much as she loves her. Caught up in college admissions panic, Ginny is increasingly prone to dramatic meltdowns. Plum considers herself the practical one-the one who, when confronted with her family's impending financial ruin and the potential loss of their sprawling, dilapidated home, turns to Victorian literature for inspiration. Discarding possibilities such as being shipped off to distant relatives or marrying up, she muses, "If it were not the 21st century, and I were not only 15, I would become a governess." A string of awkward coincidences follows, and Plum finds herself accidentally hired as an English tutor for Tate Kurokawa, a popular, athletic boy who is as different from Plum as she feels it is possible for a person to be. As Plum and Tate grow closer, Plum's mother organizes chaotic fundraising events in their home and Ginny grows increasingly frantic about her financial aid prospects. Plum discounts Ginny's anxieties as mere drama until a frightening incident reminds her how central sisterhood, with all of its challenges, is to her identity. Thornburgh's second novel offers a charming riff on Sense and Sensibility, with fully realized characters and a setting-the Blatchley house-so well loved that it feels like a character in its own right. Readers will happily lose themselves in the warmly realistic family dynamics, the sisters' laugh-out-loud literary banter, and the sweet, low-key romance. This book's greatest strength, however, is its remarkably nuanced look at the intimate, and at times claustrophobic, bonds of sisterhood. VERDICT A smart, character-driven contemporary novel with a timeless feel. Highly recommended for all collections.-Elizabeth Giles, Lubuto Library Partners, Zambia

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "The sisters' relationship—what pulls them apart, what draws them together—is the story's beating heart. A well-told, universally human tale about teens discovering who they are, where they want to go, and how to get there. Wise, funny, [and a] thoroughly contemporary coming-of-age tale."
  • ALA Booklist (starred review) "The author of Who's That Girl, Thornburgh offers a story that's as witty, intelligent, and perceptive as its narrator. A rewarding novel that revolves around change, reflection, and, yes, sisterhood."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A realistic depiction of siblinghood proves deeply dynamic as each falters and grows. Most of all, Thornburgh's exploration of the power of social comedies and books by and about young women—works often deemed insignificant—shines. A funny, beguiling story of sisterhood, burgeoning self-awareness, and first love."
  • School Library Journal "Thornburgh's novel offers a charming riff on Sense and Sensibility. Readers will happily lose themselves in the warmly realistic family dynamics, the sisters' laugh-out-loud banter, and the sweet, low-key romance. A smart, character-driven contemporary novel with a timeless feel. Highly recommended for all collections."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books "A consistent joy for lovers of well-wroutght, understated prose."
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