Monday, July 23, 2012

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Title: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Pages: 352 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC via Amazon Vine
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

Smart Girls Get What They WantGigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents) But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .


Review:


After I just finished a book about the negative messages hidden in media we tend to think of as mindless entertainment, I'm not sure Smart Girls Get What They Want stood a chance.

I'm always endeavoring to be fair and I wanted to love this book. A novel about the smart girls getting everything they want? Oh yeah! My kind of book! But it turned out not to be. The first 130 pages nearly made me quit because our three "smart girls" were more like morons with straight As. Gigi's judgmental ways really got on my nerves and I just didn't care about the other two girls because they weren't given quite as much development as I wished they had been.

Throughout the book, I kept picking up a message that really angered me: that it's OMG TERRIBLE to not be well-known in your class and if you're a very smart girl with a small, close circle of friends but you're kind of invisible to everyone in your class, you don't have anything of worth. I never thought this book would go that way and personally offend me by doing so, but it did. I'm certain the author didn't mean to deliver that kind of message, but intent isn't magical like that.

So what changed? What made me finish this book and kinda-sorta like it?

Character development happened, thank goodness. Gigi stopped being judgmental of her seatmates, who liked to discuss dresses and shoes and jewelry each day in homeroom (which is one of the major things I side-eyed Gigi for; there's nothing wrong with people who like fashion). The skiing scenes where Gigi and Bea joined the ski team and raced were really, really fun to read. I never came to fully like the novel or care about what happened to its characters, but I went from hating it to being indifferent to it, and that was a pretty big step up. I give it that much.

The writing grated on me every now and then. The prologue was nothing but babbling info-dump about where their friendship began and Gigi rotated between talking in present tense and talking in past tense. I'd like to see the rampant tense confusions evened out, but Smart Girls Get What They Want is still an easy read. The romances are cute, but nothing I really cared about.

The first third is easily one-star material and the rest of the book is worth about three stars, I'll give it two. I wanted to be generous and give it three because it managed to crawl out of a pit I didn't think it could get out of, but messages that personally offend me ruin any chance of me being generous.

2 stars!


What am I reading next?: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger