Hi guys! Happy November! I am starting to really catch up on reviews and review copies. As I’m writing this, I’m down to five books excluding galleys that are to be read next year. It’s so great not being behind! Today’s review is Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky, a YA contemporary novel featuring archaeology, women in STEM, backstabbing, betrayal, fashion, and fun. I hope you enjoy!
About the Book
The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.
It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.
Until it isn’t.
When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.
Mammoth will release from Turner Publishing on November 6th. Pre-order today!
Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.
To be honest, Mammoth is one of those books for me that I liked but not loved, if you know what I mean. When I first started this story, I knew I was in for a special treat–the writing style automatically clicked and the next thing I knew I just wanted to keep on reading. There were many times when I could not put it down, and there were many times where I could feel the anger or betrayal that Natalie felt. Certainly, Mammoth will transport you to a summer of internships and archaeology as Natalie tries to manage her feelings regarding her weight, her relationships, and her dreams. Mammoth is definitely a powerful testimony to the ever-growing need for women in STEM.
The reason why I am rating this novel a three stars is because for me it is lacking a little bit of something to make me really enjoy it. (Four stars are saved for books that I really enjoyed, and five stars are reserved for the rare gems that become some of my favorite reads.) I definitely liked, and it is a well-written story for the most part. Mammoth provides great insight into Natalie’s life as she manages her emotions regarding her weight and as she tries to make it in a field dominated by men. I believe that many people will highly enjoy Mammoth way more than I did. My only problem was the pacing. While it was mainly a character-driven story, the synopsis is not fulfilled until the two-thirds marking of the book (this is not a spoiler, by the way). It kind of disappointed me that the lead-up to the main conflict and climax was too long and that the drop-off from there was too short. Otherwise, this story definitely has its moments full of fun, sass, and drama.
While I may not have enjoyed Baguchinsky’s debut novel as much as I had hoped to, I do admit that the story was well-written. It may not have been the right story for me, but I have a lot of confidence that contemporary and realistic fiction readers will love it. I definitely enjoyed seeing a lot of archaeology embedded throughout the story (of course, it’s an archaeology internship… duh!)–it certainly makes me want to learn more about the field itself. Mammoth ultimately teaches readers that fat can be fashionable and that women in STEM should never be underestimated.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (NABRE)
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