Book Review: Mall Hair Maladies by Kristy Jo Volchko
Mall Hair Maladies is told in first-person from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Tanya Sheffield. As she states in the beginning of the book, “All it takes is one chance meeting or moment to change everything.” Tanya’s life is changed by meeting her new best-friend, Randi Gattano. That friendship puts several things in motion that change everything in Tanya’s life over the course of 12 months.
The year is 1985 and Madonna’s career has just launched into the stratosphere. Teenage girls, Tanya and Randi, are on joint mission as super fans to see the star in concert. Along the way, they are two typical teenage girls trying to survive their freshman year and all the challenges that life throws at a teenage girl.
The book is written for the tween audience. For those of us that were children or teens of the 80’s, it is equally enjoyable. Maybe even more so.
Kristy Jo Volchko does a great job of sharing the teenage mind. The book has a quick pace and a sense of urgency throughout as Tanya is ever working toward her primary goal of seeing Madonna in concert. The dialogue is enjoyable to read and keeps you invested in the characters.
My favorite part of the book was all of the 1980’s references. From words like psyche and bodacious, to smoking in the school bathroom and clouds of hairspray in the school halls, many of the references could have easily been pulled out of my high school experience.
As loyal Madonna followers, the girls work hard to have the biggest hair, more jelly bracelets than an arm can hold, and iconic fingerless gloves, even if they must make the latter themselves. There are grooming malfunctions, fashion agonies and plenty of teen angst to keep young readers connected to the story.
Other items that really struck me were the release of Madonna’s movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, and the character reading Flowers in the Attic, both iconic items from the 80’s. Music references from Huey Lewis to Hall and Oates add texture to the tale. I even found myself pulling up an 80’s playlist to listen to as I read the tale.
The Not So Good
Honestly, there is nothing negative for me to say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through the 80s through the eyes of two teenage girls. I’m pretty sure I was friends with both of them once upon a time. Volchko writes at a comfortable pace with an easy flow. There’s enough detail to let you fully experience each scene without feeling too wordy.
Whether you are searching for a wholesome book for your tween or looking to relive a little nostalgia for yourself, you will be very happy with Mall Hair Maladies. The book is very entertaining and each reading session left me with a good feeling and happy memories.
Mall Hair Maladies is volume 1 in what will be a series. Look for the sequel to be released in 2019.
I am thrilled to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars look forward to seeing what Kristy Jo Volchko releases next.
Please share this review.