Paintbrush // It’s 2017 Let’s Stop Shaming Girls in YA

Author: Hannah Bucchin
Genre: Contemporary| YA
GoodreadsΒ rating: 4.14
My rating:  ⭐

 

Mitchell Morrison and Josie Sedgwick have spent their whole lives at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village, a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, and they aren’t particularly close–at least, not anymore. Josie wishes she could spend all of her time at Paintbrush planting tomatoes, hiking the trails, or throwing giant communal birthday parties, while Mitchell can’t wait to escape the bizarre spiritual sharing and noisy community dinners. Luckily for both of them, high school graduation is just around the corner.

But when Mitchell’s mother makes a scandalous announcement that rocks the close-knit Paintbrush community, and Josie’s younger sister starts to make some dangerously bad decisions, the two find themselves leaning on each other for support – and looking at each other in a whole new light. Their childhood friendship blossoms in to something more as they deal with their insane families, but as graduation approaches, so does life in the real world, forcing Josie and Mitchell to figure out what, exactly, their relationship is – and if it can survive their very different plans for the future.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I have a lot of thoughts about this one, so I’ve decided to go with a list review. Usually this means dividing things into two lists: things I liked and things I disliked but… There wasn’t much I liked and I feel like if I were to split my thoughts up things could get a bit confusing. This has gotten pretty long, and I’m sorry for that, but I have a lot to say and considering this has a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads, I find it important to get everything out. So here we go!

πŸ’› Initially I thought the friendship between Josie and Mitchell was cuteΒ (like I loved that they traded books!) and that it would be a cute relationship. But, it wasn’t. I know they’ve known each other since forever and have been friends all this time, but it still felt insta-lovey to me, since both of them were suddenly in love with the other?

πŸ’› My biggest problem was that I didn’t like Mitchell at all.Josie wasn’t very interesting either, but I just felt neutral about her.Mitchel though? Both of them are at a party (though they didn’t go there together) when this happens:

When I turn around again, I see Josie and Cord face to face. Literally. Their faces are touching. My face goes hot. They don’t evenk now each other. Josie must be wasted.

Then it switches to Josie’s POV, and it turns out Josie has had like one tiny sip of alcohol. Cord, Mitchell’s best friend,Β is wasted, and puts his forehead to her forehead, telling her that they need to keep an eye on Mitchell, because he’s having a rough time at home. Then Mitchell shows up:

I lean back a little to consider this, when I feel a hand on my arm. I look up to see Mitchell. And he does not look happy. ”Come on. We’re leaving.”

πŸ’›So he just decides that Josie has to leave the party?? Look, it’s great that he wanted to take his very, very drunk friend (Cord) home. But it’s pretty obvious that Josie wasn’t drunk. It was just his jealousy talking and,, ugh.

πŸ’› Rightfully Josie gets pissed too when she realises that there’s no emergency or just a solid reason for why they had to leave. Honestly I’m a little disappointed that she just didn’t ask why they had to go while they were still at the party, but I guess since they’d known each other since they were five she trusted him.

πŸ’› Anyway,she wants to know why he told her they had to leave. And here it comes!!!”It was just… too much,” I (Mitchell) say softly. ‘’I didn’t want to see you there, like that. Partying and drinking and whatever. That’s what other people do. Stupid high schoolers who don’t know anything about real life. But you’re Josie. You’re different.” Then Josie says that maybe she isn’t. But Mitchell insists that she is.

πŸ’›Β First of all, you don’t get to decide what kind of person Josie is, and whether she should party and drink. He’s basically telling her ‘you’re not like other girls!!’ and he’s upset that she didn’t live up to his ideal of her at the party.Β Second, you don’t get to tell her that she’s wrong about herself, implying that you know her better?

πŸ’› He even ditches her in the middle of a public dance, without explaining it, because he hates the thought of his mom (who he’s fighting with) thinking that she had anything to do with him and Josie getting together?? And then afterwards he just knocks on her window and he just grins at her like nothing happened? He doesn’t explain nor even apologise for what he did, and Josie just lets it go?

πŸ’›Both Josie and Mitchell had great best friends who were far more interesting than both of them.Β I also wish these friendships had played a bigger part. Leah stood up for Josie without even blinking, even if she had to stand up to Josie herself when Josie is feeling insecure.Β Leah just loudly yells ‘unacceptable!’ in the middle of the cafeteria and tells her how great she is. My favourite part:

As I walk past her on my way to the trashcan, she reaches out and smacks my butt.
”Leah!” I glare at her over my shoulder.
”I wouldn’t have to doΒ stuff like that if you would just admit that you’re sexy,” she calls.
I shake my head and keep walking.
”I hate to see you go, but I love to watch youΒ leave,” she calls again, even louder.

πŸ’› Seriously why couldn’t this book be about Leah. Or Cord.Β Seriously I loved Leah and Cord and they were so much more interesting than Josie and Mitchell what the hell.

πŸ’› ”The fact that Cord’s dogs are named after one of the three stooges, an animated Disney baboon, and the star of The Sound of Music is pretty bizarre but also totally fitting for Cord. He lives in the giant mansion but dresses like he’s homeless – homeless chic, he tells me – drives a fancy sports car but volunteers as a big broher at the local elementary school, loves old musicals, smokes more weed than anyone I know, obsessively reads classic novels and comic books, and knits.”

πŸ’› And Mitchell?? I dunno he hates Paintbrush?? He’s done with high school? He’s in love with Josie all of a sudden? He’s upset with his mom right now??Β Oh and he’s a Golden Boyβ„’ andΒ Perfect Studentβ„’ with no flaws!

πŸ’› But I did appreciate their friendship. Like serioulsy when Mitchell just shows up at his doorstep late at night he doesn’t ask questions and just gives him a glass of water and extra blankets.

πŸ’› Why wasn’t this book about Leah and or Cord why did it have to be about such stale characters

πŸ’›Β Josie constantly looks down on and shames other girls. She notices a girl who’s flirting with Mitchell is eating an apple: ”Of course she’s eating an apple – just an apple – for lunch.”Β First of all! You don’t know if that’s all she’s eating!! Second of all! So what if she is!! Don’t shame her!!

πŸ’› She also loves to shame her sister, Libby, for what she’s wearing.Β ”I don’t really care how old she is. No one should feel the need to wear clothing that tight. Or the need to wake up a full two hours before school just to curl her hair.’ ‘It’s 2017 I’m tired please stop shaming girls

πŸ’› But it gets better!! At some point she starts to describe her other sister, Mae, Libby’s twin. ‘Mae’s hair is thrown into a messy ponytail and tied back with a red bandana. She’s wearing black leggings and an oversized white t-shirt that reads Eat Local in big black letters. There are cake crumbs all down the front of this shirt, and for some reason this makes me want to lean over and hug her as hard as I can. She looks like she’s a normal fourteen-year-old girl. Libby, with her bright-red lipstick and strategically tousled hair, looks like a vampire who’s trying to be sexy.” STOP SHAMING YOUR SISTER. STOP PITTING HER AGAINST YOUR OTHER SISTER.

πŸ’› There is a of course a mean girl who doesn’t add anything to the story except that she’s jealous of Josie being close to Mitchell.

πŸ’› Seriously she appears like,, twice,, throughout the whole book??

πŸ’› Josie’s mom was in an abusive relationship, which I wish had been more touched upon. Josie and her sisters also lived in an abusive household for a while, but this hasn’t impacted her in any way apparently. She does seem to be mad at her father, but it’s more of an afterthought. It made me wonder why this was even part of the plot, since it barely played a part. Same with Josie’s sister Libby’s ‘arc’ (it’s too stale to even call it an arc)

πŸ’› Actual quote from this book: ”Last one in the water gets sorted into Hufflepuff”

Live footage of my Badger Armyβ„’ preparing to fight for Hufflepuff’s honour

πŸ’› The Paintbrush community also played a big part in the book (sort of? Mostly it focused on the romance), but they were barely developed and most of them were randomly introduced so I had no idea who was who. Nor could I tell them apart.In a lot of ways this read like a first draft.

All of the characters should’ve been developed more, their relationships with each other as well. I didn’t care what happened between the main characters and their families, because they barely played a part. I didn’t like Mitchell and the way he treated Josie at all, nor did I like Josie constantly shaming other girls. Again, it’s 2017. Why is this still a thing in YA.

How do you feel about the ‘you’re not like other girls’ trope and girls shaming other girls in YA? Will you join me and my Badger Armyβ„’ in my fight to defend Hufflepuff? Let me know in the comments!

The Monthly Hufflepuff | Where Did 2017 Go

I think that it was about half-way through November that I realised that I had completely forgotten about my October wrap-up, so I guess I’ll wrap it up along with NovemberΒ πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

πŸ’› Masked by J.D. WrightΒ β˜… – Yikes yikes and yikes. I went into a lot more detail in my review of course, but basically it had potential to be a fun read but instead it had a lot of problematic aspects

πŸ’› Danger! Women Artists at Work by Debra N. Mancoff β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… –Β Really interesting, fun and inspiring read, but I wish it had featured more women of colour and queer ladies. Frida Kahlo is featured, but her sexuality isn’t mentioned, so if you’re unfamiliar with her you wouldn’t know that. Maybe there are more queer artists featured in this, but at some point I got too tired to google every artist to see if she might be queer since until I quit none of them were (or at least it wasn’t known if they were)

πŸ’› Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… – I have so much love for this book. It’s such a refreshing read: realistic, a wonderful friendship between a boy and a girl without any romance, a healthy romance that didn’t overtake the plot, family, fun antics… 10/10 would recommend

Me throwing Chasing Eveline at all of you

πŸ’› Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Prince #2Β – uhhh I don’t really remember this issue woops. I love Zodiac Starforce though and I’m definitely enjoying this sequel

πŸ’› Giant Days #31 and #32Β – Have I shouted at you guys to read Giant Days yet because please do. I barely ever laugh out loud while reading comics and Giant Days made me laugh out loud multiple times. It’s about three amazing female college students, their antics and their wonderful friendship.

πŸ’› Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 – woops another issue I don’t remember?? Again, enjoying this one though. It’s about girls working at a record store who have a secret club in which they solve mysteries and kick ass

πŸ’› Ms. Marvel #23 and #24 – LOVED this team up and I love how they’re currently exploring how the past arcs are impacting Kamala. If you aren’t reading Ms. Marvel yet what are you doing

what u doing fam

πŸ’› The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Universe β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β – SO. MUCH. FUN.

πŸ’› The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeΒ β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… – For someone who’s been shouting for about four/five (?) years that I love Oscar Wilde I should really read more of his works. Thus I finally picked up The Importance of Being Earnest and I’m so glad I did. It was such a delight

πŸ’› Runaways volumes 1 – 8Β β˜…β˜…β˜… for the first 7 andΒ β˜… for the 8th volume – The first seven volumes were fun and these kids definitely grew on me. The problem I have with this comic is the pace. I felt it was way too rushed and it took so long for the characters to grow on me. They felt pretty flat to me and so did their relationships with each other (something I find the tv show is doing a better job of so far). Don’t even get me started on volume 8 I found it such a mess yikes. I don’t even want to consider it canon, especially with the way they treated Victor

πŸ’› Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonΒ β˜…β˜…β˜… – Ahhh such mixed feelings. I knew there was a lot of controversy about this one before going in and I definitely get where people are coming from. I can’t say anything about it without spoiling it though. My mixed feelings aren’t just because of that controversial thing* but also because it felt very insta-lovey and there were times were I got bored, despite that at first I really liked the writing style and the different formats. No scratch that, I’m in LOVE with the different formats. Controversy aside, this book is so artsy. Besides emails it also has really cool illustrations?? I wasn’t expecting that

πŸ’› Emma volume 1 by Kaoru MoriΒ β˜…β˜…β˜… – Fun and cute, but nothing special

πŸ’› Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali (reread)Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… –Β For some reason I didn’t love it the first time as much as I loved it the second time around – I don’t know if it was the hype getting to me back then or my mood (sometimes I read/watch something and I feel a bit meh about it, but then the second time around I’m in love?? My brain is weird) or the fact that I wasn’t out yet and still struggling with my own feelings and couldn’t appreciate it as much as I could now. WHO KNOWS. Point is I love this book very much

πŸ’› Swan Song by Charlotte WilsonΒ β˜…β˜…β˜… Β – The way this one handles grief is very powerful and the romance is cute, but it didn’t blow me away

πŸ’› Lumberjanes #43 and #44 – What can I say about Lumberjanes without repeating myself? It’s still very much enjoyable, the magic and weirdness of it never gets old and I love my girls. FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX

πŸ’› Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanΒ β˜…β˜…β˜… – Great action scenes, but unfortunately quite a few scenes in-between were a bit boring. Review will be up next week!

πŸ’› Karina’s Silver Shoes by Denise Marques LeitaoΒ β˜… – SO CONFUSING. I DON’T GET IT. AT ALL. If you want a few more details, you can find my review here

πŸ’› America #8 – eh I dunno? I really want to love this comic, and some of the issues so far have been really good, but this issue had a pacing problem which more of the issues have.

πŸ’› Lumberjanes 2017 Special: Faire and SquareΒ β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… – The girls and Jen go to a Robin Hood themed fair!! And there’s a pterodactyl!! Also they re-enact a telenovela to cheer up Ripley!! If you love Lumberjanes and haven’t read this special yet I’d definitely recommend it

πŸ’› Lumberjanes 2016 Special: Makin’ The Ghost Of ItΒ β˜…β˜…β˜… – It’s still fun because it’s Lumberjanes but I felt a bit meh about it?

πŸ’› DC Bombshells #56 – #59 – Whyyy am I so slow when it comes to this comic while it’s one of my favourites.

πŸ’› Paintbrush by Hannah BucchinΒ β˜…β˜… – Mixed feelings galore!! This could’ve been a fun, cute read, and in a way it was? But it also wasn’t? Character driven novels are great, except when you don’t like the characters #woops Full review should be up soonish

πŸ’› The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali (reread)Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… – Still as cute and fun and wonderful and wholesome as the first time around!! Read my review here

πŸ’› What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly BourneΒ β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… – Just what I needed oh my goodness. THIS WAS SO GOOD. Okay so it made me feel insecure about my writing, but it was also so empowering, inspiring and fun and just ahhh. ALL THE FEELINGS. GOOD FEELINGS. BUT ALSO RAGE BECAUSE SEXISM. Anyway I can’t wait to review this one

Favourites of the month: Chasing Evelyne and What’s a Girl Gotta Do?

πŸ’› Reviews: Β Doctor Who Myths and Legends | Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith | Masked | Chasing Eveline | Swan Song | Karina’s Silver Shoes
πŸ’› Writing: Recipe: How to Make Your Own Writer | When Books Make You Feel Insecure About Your Writing
πŸ’› Travel: London Day 1 and Day 2

Holidays!! Last month of 2018!!* Last full month until I leave for Manchester!!

Can you tell I’m freaking out a bit!!**

I mean obviously I’m excited but ahhh I’m also panicking. I don’t know yet how much I’ll blog. Like I said in my last weekly wrap up, I hit a bit of a blogging slump last week. This week I’m actually doing fine? So who knows what will happen. The most important thing is that I’m enjoying myselfΒ πŸ™†πŸ»

* Where did 2017 go?? What happened to it?? Why is time going so fast??
** A bit?? A bit?? Try a lot

How has your month been? Are you freaking out over 2017 almost being over? Any exciting plans for the holidays, and for 2018? What was your favourite book of the month? Let me know in the comments!