Friday, October 14, 2011

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm

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Available May 8, 2012
"Libby Kelting had always felt born out of time.  No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-round history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum.

But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset.  Her cat-loving coworker hates her, the geeky local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, the sailor she’s dating is more shipwreck than dreamboat, and Camden Harbor might be haunted.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem."

It's been a while since I’ve read something that’s pure silliness and Pilgrims fits into this category very nicely. 

Libby is your typical high school student from Minnesota who’s heading off to her dream internship on the East Coast at a small town history museum.  The book is quick with some apparent stereotypes – she’s blonde, she’s popular and she has a gay best friend, Dev who’s absolutely flummoxed about why she won’t be joining him at his fabulous internship at a magazine in New York.  I admit, the book didn't quite grab me at first and I think the initial stereotypes bothered me a little.  

It was Libby who thankfully reminded me not to be too quick to judge.  When she arrives at Camden Harbour, she’s fully aware that people perceive her as a blonde airhead incapable of grasping the importance and purpose of the history museum.  She finds herself on the receiving end of some serious animosity from her nightmare of a roommate, Ashling.  Libby may be guilty of having shoes for every occasion and not being able to live without blush but she knows her historical facts and she's serious about her work.  She proves herself to be smart though slightly awkward when thrown into the spotlight.

She meets two guys who couldn’t be more different from each other.  Naturally, she finds herself drawn to the hot guy, Cam the sailor with the killer smile.  I had to shake my head when she couldn’t even see what an obvious chump he was.  Then there’s Garrett, the geeky reporter who’s into all things sci-fi and researching a story about ghost sightings on one of the museum's prized ships, Lettie Mae.  By a stroke of luck (sort of), Libby and Garrett are thrown together as roommates on the ship and these two polar opposites have to learn to tolerate each other. 

Pilgrims is for the most part predictable though admittedly it didn’t end where I thought it would.  My only problem with it was the Libby/Ashling dynamic.  There was just no reasonable explanation for why Ashling was so hostile towards her.  Though Ashling on her own provided a few "roll your eyes" moments of humor.

What I did like were all the random historical facts and trivia that Libby would throw out because I myself love history. She displays her history geek flag proudly and that aspect of her personality nicely balanced Garrett's tendency to rattle of random things like Lord of the Rings trivia.  The two of them together were a treat.  And as much as she loves her modern comforts, she's not a whiner and shows how much a team player she can be.  

Overall this is a fun book.  It's perfect when you want an escape or just something that's quick and easy. There’s plenty to giggle about and in the end it’s just what you need when you want something to smile about.

~ Bel

We received Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink as an ARC from NetGalley.  It will be released May 8, 2012. 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt    Imprint: Graphia

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