Monday, August 20, 2012
Smart Girls Get What They Want
Balzer + Bray, 2012
Source: Received for review through Amazon Vine.
I wasn't really interested in this book until I saw a couple of positive reviews of it (most notably from Christina T at Reading Extensively) and figured out that the author had written one of my favorite "chick-lit" books, The Cinderella Pact. Thus I was excited to pick this up. Basically the three smartest girls in the class (narrator Gigi and her best friends Bea and Neerja) are dismayed to realize that grades don't translate to popularity.
Part of my problem with this book draws heavily from my own experiences as a "smart" kid like Gigi. First I would never expect the smartest kid in school to be well-known to his or her peers. If the student population and culture does not value intelligence, and usually it doesn't, preferring to elevate sports stars, then why would Gigi expect to be known? Second, what kind of schedule does she have? For me, I was mostly in AP classes and thus hung out with other AP kids. Here it seems like it is just Gigi, her two friends, and a couple of other kids. At my school, there was basically a whole huge clique of us who took all the same classes, just at different times and didn't necessarily interact much with non-AP kids like Gigi does in this book. Obviously it depends on the school but it doesn't ring true with my experience.
Happily as the book progresses there ended up being a lot of things I did really like. However I must mention the one thing that just drove me crazy, which was Gigi's crush on new rich kid Will who was obviously playing her. Her determined ignoring of his still very much in the picture girlfriend drove me crazy. For a smart girl, she sure was dumb about some things.
Now on to what I did like. Most notably would have to be the friendship of Gigi, Bea, and Neerja. This is heavily featured even as the girls explore other interests that they don't share. Since friendship is one of my strongest memories from high school, I am always so glad to see a YA book that includes a good one and this is definitely one of the best I've read. I also really liked their challenges: Gigi faces stage fright to run for class rep, Bea takes up skiing again, and Neerja pursues her drama passion. Their efforts are often humorous but with immense growth for them. There are also various flirtations with cute boys.
Overall: I would say it's pretty predictable but a lot of fun!
Cover: I'm not the biggest fan of this cover with the words so prominent and just the girl standing in space although she does seem pretty true to Gigi's description so that's good. It actually turned me off until I saw some reviews.