Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: It's All in Your Mind by Ann Herrick

17-year-old Vija Skalbe wants to be an all-American girl—no matter how hard her parents try to impose their strict Latvian standards on her. Then one day Nolan, a folksinger, steals her heart at a coffeehouse.

When Nolan stops at their table, it's Vija's friend, Caprice, who does all the talking. But it is Vija who gets his phone number—and later the back seat of his motorcycle. Soon she is cruising from one adventure to another, dizzy with joy, her new-found freedom and the excitement of being with the kind of guy who is a challenge.

However, when Vija's father has a heart attack, she must take over running the family lawn-care business. She feels overwhelmed until sweet brainiac Joel volunteers to help. He shares the workload and lifts her spirits with his humor. But it is Nolan who fills her heart.

It doesn't matter that Nolan wants everything his way. Or that he's constantly eyeing other girls. Or that he can be pouty and punitive. Or that he says she's seeing things all wrong. Until it does matter. But Vija's in so deep. Will she deal with Nolan's controlling tactics, or is she too far under his spell?

My Rating: 4.5

My Review:
Although It's All in Your Mind is a fairly short read, it is definitely a powerful one that proves quality really does mean a lot more than quantity. A great contemporary YA novel, this one is sure to appease readers of all kinds.

I loved how the story takes place in the late 1950s. It isn't often that one gets a real teenage perspective of historical fiction without being overwhelmingly historical or fictitious. It's All in Your Mind has a wonderful voice that makes the reader still feel as if they are in a different time, while still being able to connect with the characters and feel at home.
Vija is a wonderful voice to tell the story. The blend of cultures apparent from her young immigration to America is tastefully done, and created a much richer plot. Vija is definitely a realistic character. She is hardworking and cares about her family. She doesn't have a lot of experience with romance, so when she gets the attention of a man, she is a little naive and not unbelievably headstrong. However, she is still able to stand up for herself when the moment arises. I fully enjoyed reading from her perspective.

I felt a large suspense build while reading It's All in Your Mind. There were parts were I was absolutely convinced that something bad was going to happen or that things were about to get real. I would almost be disappointed that the build did not lead to as explosive of a climax as I was expecting, but the book continued to be a treat regardless, so I really cannot complain. Besides, the suspenseful feel really allows readers to tear through the novel. Sometimes, I really want a read that I can finish quickly, but still have fully affect me, and I was able to find that in It's All in Your Mind.

Most of the characters were fully well-developed. The sharp contrast between Nolan and Joel really added to both of their characters and emphasized their personalities. I also enjoyed the subplots, especially that of Karl's, which  left me even more satisfied, if not a bit hungry for more.

Although the ending did fizz out a bit quickly, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the close came at a perfect time. Not to mention, it left a delicious hint of what will happen next with the characters.

I found myself smiling at the text at certain points, and I am smiling afterward, having fully enjoyed the read and being able to share this review. It's All in Your Mind is truly a gem of a story, and as a little YA contemporary definite find, I can highly recommend giving it a try. 


  1. Hi Ann,

    Lovely excerpt. Sounds like a great story.



  2. I've just started reading this great story! I'm hooked already...