Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 347
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
SummaryThe higher you aim, the farther you fall....
It's Violet's junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she'd be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she's just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush's new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie. When Katie starts making choices that Violet can't even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success--but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?

In my search for more great contemporary young adult reads, I came across the description of Leila Sales's most recent book, Past Perfect. If an author is on the newer side and only has a few books out, I try to read the earlier stuff before the later. I grabbed Mostly Good Girls off the library shelf. As a bonus, it counts for the Completely Contemporary Challenge. Hollaaaaa!
Violet is an above average student at her private all-girls school--but, then again, most of the other girls are as well. She spends her time studying, editing the literary magazine, and trying to stop the relationship with her best friend Katie from changing too much. When it appears that Katie is going off the deep end, Violet doesn't know quite what is going on with her or what to do about it.
The biggest strength of this book is its incredibly realistic portrayal of the friendship between Violet and Katie. They've been best friends since childhood and are comfortable around each other's families. They attempt first time teenager-y things together, like getting drunk and trying to gain attention from boys. Even though Mostly Good Girls has a private school setting, it is the most normal contemporary read ever.
Violet and Katie were realistic teenage characters. Violet has the true voice of a teenager, with all its self consciousness and sarcasm. Most of all, I was happy that both of them weren't merely nice and unassuming--they mocked their classmates behind their backs (much like real best friends do) and rolled their eyes at various aspects of their families I'm a big supporter of the "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit next to me" mentality (which I was told was said by Alice Roosevelt, but I've never checked that). The most endearing thing about Violet and Katie is that they don't waste time pretending to be nice.
The only thing was that there wasn't too much of a plot--the story is more of a character/friendship study. Violet and Katie go through their days at school, hang out with one another, and attempt to gain boyfriends. The story is really about their friendship, so if you're strictly a plot person I don't advise picking this one up.
Leila Sales's Mostly Good Girls tells a great story about the changes that a friendship undergoes during a stressful time period. With its realistic characters and portrayal of a changing friendship, Sales created a good story for any high school girl.

Rating: 3 - fair.

Challenge: Completely Contemporary Challenge!

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