Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom

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dont ever changeDon’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
HarperTeen, July 2015

Just before she graduates, Eva is told by her writing teacher that she needs to understand the difference between “writing that’s fictional, and writing that’s false” and that she should ask herself “what do I know?” Eva decides to spend the summer before she goes to college in Boston gaining experience rather than writing (although as she’s the narrator, it’s a little meta). She takes a job as a camp counselor, falls out with her best friends and dates three boys – all experiences which lead, if not exactly to an epiphany, to a maturing outlook.

Eva is a sharp and entertaining narrator, even if she’s not entirely likable. She’s quick to form an often scathing view of other people, considering herself “TGFI: Too Good For It.” Conversely her self-absorption means she spends little time thinking about how other people perceive her, so it is something of a harsh shock when she realizes both friends and people she’s just met find her “judge-y” and rigid.

Secondary characters are, consequently, not particularly well-developed. Eva’s friends and boy friends are only ever viewed through her eyes and so are given pretty short shrift. Her family fares somewhat better: her older sister offers Zen advice, which Eva often ignores and her mom tries, in a not necessarily practical way, to get her ready for the move from LA to Boston.

Contrary to the title, at the end of a summer of being the “Un-Eva”, her internal reflections have changed her a little, and though gradual evolution feels very realistic, it doesn’t make for a particularly satisfying read.

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