Author: Jill Baguchinsky
Publication Date & Publisher: November 6, 2018, Turner Publishing
Genre(s): Young Adult
Length: 340 pages
My Rating: 4.75/5.0
Description (from Goodreads):
The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.
It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.
Until it isn’t.
When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.
So I pretty much knew I was going to like this book before I even read it. Some other very trustworthy bloggers had given it high praise, and I was excited to get my hands on it! When it finally arrived, I made the mistake of letting my teen daughter read the blurb, and she offered to fight me over who got to read it first… (Don’t worry, I shut that down and no child abuse was exacted in my reading of this wonderful novel!)
I ended up loving Mammoth so much that I’m not even sure where to start… Guess I’ll just jump right in…
Natalie totally reinvented herself during the summer before she started high school. She doesn’t just dress differently, she’s got a whole different attitude that she wears as a shield to guard herself from her real feelings. “Be awesome” is the mantra she’s learned from her aunt and her awesomeness is obvious to everyone around her… including some of the kids that used to pick on her before she had the courage to “be awesome.”
While she’s putting on the front of awesomeness to the entire world, inside she’s all insecurity and self-loathing. And now that she’s going to be digging up bones for the summer, it’s a lot harder to put on that awesome clothing and makeup she’s been using to hide her true self away from the world.
While at the amazing internship she’s landed at the mammoth dig site, she gets to meet her hero, Dr. Thomas F. Carver. This should be a dream come true, but it turns out to be anything but… and not just because she’s become frenemies with Dr. Carver’s daughter, Quinn, who’s also interning at the site.
Dr. Carver, who Natalie has idolized both personally and publicly, steals credit for a huge find and Natalie and Quinn are expected to just roll over and take it. Another paleontologist, Dr. Gallaher, tries to cheer Natalie up and I just loved it…
“There are two lessons you can take from this,” he says. “First, understand that this kind of thing happens. It’s part of the game. Anyone who’s been in the field for a while knows how you feel. At least you got your first experience with it over with early. You’re way ahead of your peers – and with the way word travels among paleontologists, those of us who matter will know who really found that calf.”
At least it’s something. “What’s the second lesson?”
Dr. Gallagher gives his ample whiskers a casual stroke. “Never, ever trust a male paleontologist without a proper beard. They’ll screw you over every time.”
(Shortly before I started reading Mammoth, my husband had started having to shave his beard for work…I loved his beard and
pouted fought him shaving it hard! I totally dropped the paleontologist part & used the above to win my argument that he shouldn’t shave if he’s not at work!)
I loved how real the characters seemed. Natalie reminded me so much of my younger self with her insecurities and body issues, but I also related to the other characters. I loved that she didn’t have a horrible relationship with her parents and that the adults weren’t portrayed as complete idiots. (A personal pet peeve of mine in YA lately.)
Being the mother of two daughters, I love that this book shows women in STEM!!!
I definitely recommend this book to… just about everyone that enjoys a good young adult read!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Turner Publishing. This in no way influenced my review.
What do you think of Mammoth? Have you read it or are you planning on reading it in the future? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!