Monday, September 6, 2010
Greenwillow Books, 2010
1st in series
Source: Won from Goodreads Firstread program
Summary: Callie Andrews has finally arrived at Harvard where she meets her three very different roommates, cute boys, new enemies, and struggles with course work, peer pressure, and money troubles.
Thoughts: I was really excited about the premise of this book as I'm not familiar with many YA books set in college and like many of those raised on the East Coast, I have a fascination with the Ivies.
I didn't really like Callie; she's supposed to be so great and has four potential romantic partners but I don't know what they see in her. I mean, she's blonde and from CA but is that really enough?
Of those guys, I did not like Gregory (at first-wait till you see why I do) because he WAS a jerk and his hotness did not compensate enough. Plus I really hate when the idea that a guy who is mean to you actually likes you is promoted-so wrong! And he's a total whore with a revolving bedmate each night (it seems-this wasn't detailed every night but it could fit). But then it turns out that he loves to read, especially Jane Austen, especially Persuasion, and that almost redeems him except that the book ends with a cliffhanger and without him around. I did not like Evan, her ex-boyfriend still in CA, nor did I like Clint but I did like Michael, who seemed like a really nice guy.
The other characters include Callie's three roommates who are French girl, NYC Prep girl, and Fundamentalist Christian girl. They develop a bit more personality but not as much as they should have. The final other character is Callie's enemy as she is Clint's ex-girlfriend and is in a position to make Callie miserable.
While I can't say much of this aligns with my college experience at all (I'm not at an Ivy), I can see how some people at a college near me have a similar work hard, party harder mentality. The social analysis of Harvard's chauvinistic instances and the realities of money were probably the most interesting part. I actually go to a women's school so I deal with a whole different set of issues and I'm quite fortunate in the financial department although I am still working and will graduate with debt. Plus I have no interest in paying thousands of dollars for exclusive parties; I like to read which is free when I get books from the library/my new love Netgalley. There is a focus on the "compromises" women make in order to be successful and Callie desires much more money in order to be able to compete with her peers.
The other thing I didn't like was that this was a collection of vignettes more than one coherent story and while it usually focused on Callie's POV, it also randomly shifted to some of the other people. It was a bit disorienting.
Warning: Language, underage drinking, and some sexual content.
Overall: Intriguing beginning with a cliffhanger that left me curious for more. Not in love with the series.
Cover: I don't really like the cover-the red is overwhelming for me but that is very much a personal preference.