Mammoth: Everything I Wanted and More

What’s better than a main character who’s a blogger?? lol Mammoth is a thoroughly heartwarming, lovely coming-of-age story. Not only is the main character of Mammoth a blogger, she is also a plus-size fashionista and a huge fan of paleontology! I do love a fully-developed character and Natalie is definitely that. But before I give it all away, let’s get to the review.

Synopsis (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.

Natalie Page is spending her summer before her junior year at an internship in Texas where she’ll be digging up bones, learning about the preserving process, and hopefully, making some friends who are also interested paleontology. She could not be more excited to get started and can’t wait to show the followers of her blog everything she’s going to be doing while she’s there. But as you can probably guess, things do not go according to plan.

While Natalie ends up in Texas (she lives in Florida), her wardrobe, her insecurities, and the people around her soon get in the way. Natalie soon finds out that her fashionable clothes are not suitable for the digging and kneeling in the dirt. But, fortunately, with a little bit of creativity, she is able to change up her wardrobe to make it a little more practical. Problem solved.

Her insecurities and the people she works during her internship are not so easy to solve.

While I wouldn’t say Natalie is insecure about her weight, she does care a lot about what other people think of her. When a picture of her is posted online, some of the comments are not so nice and they really seem to affect her. She also starts off the internship worried what her fellow interns, Chase and Quinn, think of her.

Chase is very cute and Natalie has a pretty big crush on him, so obviously she doesn’t want him to think she’s awful. Quinn happens to be the daughter of one of Natalie’s idols and her competition when it comes to getting Chase’s attention. While her need for Chase’s attention soon fades, her relationship with Quinn becomes pretty complicated. Quinn and Natalie’s friendship is very hot and cold. One minute they’re fighting over Chase, the next they’re finding a fossil together, and the next they’re feuding once again. I really love how the author didn’t make this a basic frenemy relationship or girls fighting over a guy. It’s much more complicated than that. Quinn is dealing with a lot of shit in her home life and while that doesn’t excuse her behavior, it does explain it.

There is also Cody. As soon as Natalie described him as looking angry/mean, I knew he was the dude for me! LOL. And I hoped like hell Natalie would end up with him but NO SPOILERS! Cody works at the dig site and helps train the interns on how to give tours to the people who come to look at the site. Natalie’s first interactions with him leave much to be desired, but that soon changes and he becomes the person she goes to when she needs to work out a problem. Besides Natalie, he might be my favorite character.

And then there is Quinn’s dad, Thomas Carver. He has a popular paleontology/adventure podcast and Natalie is a huge fan. The scene when she first meets him made me legitimately laugh out loud because her reaction is why I don’t want to meet people I idolize. I don’t need to be blurting out inappropriate words in front of them. But Natalie soon learns that famous people, even famous paleontologists, aren’t always what they seem.

Throughout her time in Texas, Natalie achieves so much and goes on adventures she never would have expected when she first learned she was accepted to the program. I loved following Natalie on her paleontology journey but I loved following her on her personal journey to self-acceptance even more.

Jill Baguchinsky wrote an absolutely lovely story of a girl growing into who she is and I had such a fun time reading it. I’m always for books with main characters that aren’t often heard from. Sure, there have been more plus-size/fat characters written about lately but there can always be more! I know I could’ve used more books like this one when I was growing up. I’m giving Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky 4 out of 5 stars. If you need a light, fluffy read (and who doesn’t nowadays), read this book! You will not be disappointed.

Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky comes out November 6, 2018.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Turner Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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