August: New York, New York

 Running into Paul Parlipiano in a coffee shop in New York is a surreal experience for Jess, and probably just what she needs after the trauma of Sloppy Firsts and her less than stellar experience at SPECIAL. It’s nice for her to know that she can get out of Pineville and make it, without being a jerk like Bethany. Of course she babbles incessantly and can’t keep it together, but Paul wants to talk to her anyway. This encounter is like a dream come true (even though he’ll never reciprocate her undying love)—Jess has idolized Paul for years and now they’re hanging out like equals AND he’s read and liked her articles! I think it’s interesting that she basically transcribes their entire coffee shop conversation, but writes less than a page about their two-hour campus tour.

With her ridiculously meticulous elimination process for choosing a college, she’s eliminated Columbia just because it’s in a big city. Paul Parlipiano is probably the only person EVER who could make her reconsider her decision. I love that Jess brings up the issue of Pineville smart versus Ivy smart. Just because she’s one of the smartest people at her high school, that doesn’t mean she’ll have the same status when she goes to college. Especially since Pineville is not known for its demanding academic environment. I remember thinking that when I went to college, even though the University of Minnesota is definitely not as prestigious as an Ivy. But I remember feeling like that in a good way, because there was no way that I was going to be the smartest person there, so I didn’t have to bust my ass trying to be.

 Stray Observations

  • I’m so excited that there’s more Gladdie in August! Finally! Silver Meadows sounds like the best!
  • The return of the Clueless Two! Thank goodness their nickname doesn’t have to change much.
  • While I’m not always a fan of the way Jess talks about Sara’s weight, I do endorse her criticism of Sara’s over-tanning.

Though there are a lot of great YA novels set in New York that I could recommend, I immediately thought of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Nick and Norah meet when Nick needs to avoid his ex-girlfriend and he asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. They spend the rest of the night exploring New York and getting to know each other. Chapter’s alternate between Nick and Norah’s perspectives. It’s also a movie featuring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.

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One thought on “August: New York, New York

  1. You’re so right about how she minimizes the actual campus but goes on about Paul. I think it really speaks to how you choose your college — I just kept scanning the crowds, thinking, would I want to be friends with these people?

    I also really love her interactions with Mac in this chapter. Like her editorials, it’s so great when her writing, which she usually uses to isolate herself, helps her to make connections to other people.

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