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Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want

TITLE: Smart Girls Get What They Want
AUTHOR: Sarah Strohmeyer
PUB: Balzer+Bray                                   PUB DATE: 6/26/12
FORMAT: ARC, 352 pgs
SOURCE: from pub for review

Gigi, 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. . . .

THREE WORDS: Cute, Lighthearted RomCom

MY REVIEW: Sarah Strohmeyer’s Smart Girls Get What They Want is not my usual type of contemporary read, as it is a very light, predictable romantic-comedy. There are things about this book that I really like and things that I don’t like, but overall I found it an enjoyable read.

Gigi, Bea and Neerja are the smart, overachieving, no-real-life-having girls of the 10th grade class. Up until sophomore year the three BFF’s haven’t cared about their almost non-existent social life because they’re sure that once they walk through the ivy gates of the universities of their choice their lives will really begin. But they realize that maybe high school isn’t all about studying and grades and just maybe they’re missing out. So they make a pact to do the one thing that they’ve each been too afraid to do. Bea decides to ski again, Neerja decides to try out for the school play and GiGi decides to run for student rep…what could go wrong? Along the way the girls are derailed by boys and their own fears and may just end up with things they never knew they wanted.

This is a cute and lighthearted read with a predictable, yet entertaining story. The high school world Strohmeyer creates is fresh and realistic and her teenage dialogue and characters are authentic. The premise is relatable, especially for nerdy gals like me, and I really like the idea of invisible girls finding their own voices and place in a less than equal high school world.

At almost 400 pages, this is a longer read and, at times, the story moves slowly. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until at least a quarter through and I definitely think the story could have been cut down a bit and dragged out less. I tend to read darker, more serious contemps, so I was a bit out of my element at first when this book proved to be more light and fun, but I eventually found myself opening up to the cuteness and feel-good vibe. There isn't much depth to the overall story, the author does touch upon the whole unfairness surrounding the typical high school social world, but doesn’t really explore this in-depth, which I found disappointing.

The story is told from GiGi’s point of view and I had a hard time relating to her. For a girl who has been ignored and looked over most of her high school career, she’s awfully shallow and judgmental and suffers from a superiority complex. And for such a smart girl, she can be really dumb! And not dumb in a “haha, you just had a cute, blonde moment” way, but dumb in a “OMG! Can you NOT see what’s going on here?!” kind of way. But thankfully, I really liked Bea and Neerja. Bea has a feisty charm to her that is irresistible and Neerja is such a sweet, funny girl.

The romance elements are, again, predictable and somewhat cliché and they dominate the story, but they are still enjoyable. Gigi finds herself in a bit of a love triangle with two guys: one asshat and one guy who you want to hate but can’t help fall for. The asshat I could have done without, but I really liked the scenes between Gigi and the other *coughrightcough* guy and I actually liked what he brought out in Gigi. Neerja, poor girl, experiences something that most girls can relate to: she convinces herself she’s in love with the dreamy guy only to find out that he’s kind of a bore. These romantic entanglements have happy (and maybe a little bit cheesy) endings, but they'll definitely make readers go Awww.

The girls do discover more than just love and cute boys though; they do find their courage and voice. There’s definitely the beginnings of a message, about staying true to yourself and not judging others, within this story; I only wish that message had shone brighter.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This book has its faults, but it kept me entertained. Smart Girls Get What They Want may not move or inspire readers, but it does offer a fun, warm and fuzzy read, perfect for when you want the romance and laughs without any of the heavy thinking.


Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Sarah Strohmeyer is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of fifteen novels one of which, THE CINDERELLA PACT, became a Lifetime Movie, LYING TO BE PERFECT.Her first mystery, BUBBLES UNBOUND, won the Agatha Award and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PROPOSAL was nominated for a prestigious RITA™. Her books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Turkish, Taiwanese and a bunch of others.Her first young adult novel, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT, will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, on June 26, 2012.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Smart Girls was such a fun, entertaining read. Gigi and her friends were relatable and I was constantly cheering them on. I love how Gigi and her friends went after what they wanted. Not only is this book inspiring, but the messages can speak to anyone.