Aggie Winchester is the principal’s daughter, but don’t expect her to be prissy. She’s full on goth and wears dark make up (inspiring me to google goth kids which is a barrel full of laughs). Her life is anything but easy. From a strained relationship with her mom who has cancer, to dealing with her best friend who is preggers and about to ditch Aggie for the new goth girl while running for prom queen in order to win over the baby daddy, popular Ryan, it is no wonder Lara Zielin’s latest is titled The Implosion Of Aggie Winchester.
I knew I would like The Implosion Of Aggie Winchester after reading the epigraph, which is a quote from the awesome 90s film Never Been Kissed. It’s interesting, how an epigraph sets the tone for what is about to come, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate quote to use. So mad props to Ms. Zielin.
Themes of identity, friendship, family and sticking to your guns are expertly woven into this contemporary, prom focused title.
Aggie constantly butts heads with her mom, and to make matters worse, is the cancer. We can see what I consider to be a realistic mother-daughter relationship. The two are unable to talk, unable to bridge the gulf of their different identities, causing consistent personality clashes. I am sure not everyone has a complicated relationship with their parents, but I liked that this relationship was neither perfect nor borderline sadistic. In comparison, Aggie’s dad takes her bass fishing as a way to bond without talking feelings, and I love how they connect over quiet moments. I liked seeing a father who is present and actually cares about his kid.
In her freshman year, Aggie is bullied by Tiffany Holling, a cheerleader who believes that Aggie snitched on her to her mother about cheating. Tiffany turns all of Aggie’s friends against her. Eventually Aggie turns to Sylvia, becoming the goth she is today. Eventually Sylvia turns on Aggie as well. It seems she cannot escape being the principal’s daughter, no matter who she hangs out with. And when it comes to Sylvia, Aggie must make the choice between sticking by her friend or doing what is right. Yet, we do see Aggie making a few genuine friends.
Perhaps my favorite part of The Implosion Of Aggie Winchester is the exploration of identity and morals. We all know being a teenage girl isn’t ever easy. These kids have pressure from school, from parents, from peers, from the media. There are so many influencing factors and so much noise that it is often hard to find your voice. It is only when Aggie loses all that she is able to find her true self and take a stand for what she believes in.
If you ever had angst as a teen, if your high school days are less than perfect,I highly recommend you check out a copy of The Implosion Of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin, because I am sure you will be able to relate to Aggie.
Disclosure: Received for review.