Author: Jill Baguchinsky
Genres: Young Adult contemporary
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.
Thank you so much to Turner Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book.
I enjoyed Mammoth a lot and had an incredibly fun time reading it. I got sucked in from the first few words (or rather, the first drawing) and I never really had the desire to put it down. If I had had time I would have definitely read it in one sitting.
The main character in the book, Natalie Page, adores fashion (and often makes her own pieces) and has a huge passion for paleontology. The book starts off with her getting ready for her internship at an Ice Age dig site in Texas, and this internship was definitely one of my favorite things about the book.
We don’t often get to read about women in STEM, so seeing this was so much fun. One of the first “real” jobs I wanted to have (after me wanting to be a princess and all that) was a paleontologist, so being able to read about this and how it actually works made me geek out so hard. I also loved how the book tackled misogyny and classism in the field, and a bunch of other important topics. I also really loved reading about how passionate Natalie is about her work, and her enthusiasm definitely was incredibly infectious. It almost made me want to become a paleontologist again.
While I loved Natalie’s passion, it also really annoyed me at times. She made a lot of reckless decisions, and while I get that this was partially caused by the fact that she really wants to be like her hero (a very famous paleontologist who tells a lot of stories on his podcast about his heroic actions), it still really frustrated me. I could excuse the first time she did something reckless, but after the second and third mistake (mistakes that got worse and more dangerous every time) I wanted to step into the book, shake her, and tell her to me more careful.
I also really enjoyed the fat representation in the book, and I could relate to Natalie a lot. She tries to love her body and be as confident as she can be, but she still deals with a lot of internalized fatphobia. This fatphobia was incredibly hard to read about, so please be aware of that before going into it. Natalie’s self image definitely gets better towards the end of the book, but there’s still a lot of stuff she has to work on and work through, which I appreciated. Internalized fatphobia is a very hard thing to deal with, and having her get rid of that completely in the span of a few weeks would just not have been realistic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed Natalie’s character, even though she got on my nerves sometimes, and I loved being able to geek out about paleontology and get some good fat representation. I’m super excited to see what Jill Baguchinsky will write next, because if it’s some more nerdy goodness I’ll definitely want to read it.