When I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself: if it were possible for a book and a film to have a torrid love affair (J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s Party Girl, respectively), their offspring might look something like Undiscovered Gyrl. I was completely engrossed from page one devoured this book in one sitting. It thrilled me, shocked me, captivated me, and made me laugh—often and out loud! I have a hunch this book is going to be very, very successful and I sure hope Allison Burnett is adapting it for a screenplay.
The voice of Katie Kampenfelt is so absolutely authentic that it is hard to believe this book is a work of fiction…and that’s a good thing. Katie is impulsive, witty, naïve, wanton, intelligent and unapologetic. She decides to defer college for a year to “discover her bliss” and documents that time in a blog…an anonymous blog. The result is a hauntingly, painfully honest (and hysterically sarcastic) window into her soul.
There’s a broad appeal to Undiscovered Gyrl, it is enjoyable on the surface as YA fiction and yet profound enough to become classic coming of age literature. This book is funny and entertaining, relatable and relevant. It flawlessly captures the usual struggles of youth magnified today by the internet, texting, and the other “always available” technologies of this generation. At a deeper level, it is frank and inadvertently cautionary without being preachy or artificial in any way. There is one thing that bothered me about this book that unfortunately I cannot discuss without being a spoiler. I will just say that without that one part, the book is superb, and with it, it’s still a great read with one unfortunate and annoying blemish. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book it is supremely clever and extremely readable. Bravo, Allison Burnett!