Originally when I saw this book, I judged it by its cover. The beautiful blue jacket over the girl’s shoulders, and this “mean girl” title. I knew this book would be about frenemies, à la Gossip Girls, but I had no idea how far this concept would be taken…
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Use of sexual content,
drug and alcohol use,
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FOLLOW LAUREN SAFT
Young & Adult
Published: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Those Girls, debut novel of Lauren Saft, was kindly provided for an honest review by NetGalley and its publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Read the full disclaimer here.
Lauren Saft’s debut novel, Those Girls is a story of three teenage girlfriends, Alex, Mollie and Veronica. They are are those girls: “they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?“
Those Girls is told from the point of view of each character, which I will admit is not always an easy thing to do, without stripping off their nature. I think Lauren Saft did a good job in keeping each character’s profile throughout the novel. I am not going to say that I loved the characters – no, they were all mean brats, who called each other names, lied, back stabbed one another, while still calling each other friends. Nonetheless, despite their vulgarity, as seen through the way they refer to one another, Lauren Saft did not bend and turn these girls into lovable characters by the end of the book. I found this refreshing, and it wasn’t so much of a sappy book as most Y&A books tend to be (considering their targeted audience).
However, classifying this book as a Young Adult novel was pushing it a bit. I think the book needs to be reclassified as New Adult. The reason being because of all the swearing and sex talks that are found within each page. Not to mention the use of drugs and alcohol. I don’t think this is a book appropriate for teenagers, and in no way does it set an example for young girls. That said, not being offended by these profanities, I was able to move through the book pretty quickly.
I found the book to be captivating, not because I thought it was the most entertaining and beautiful read, but because I was intrigued by these frenemies; I wanted to know whether or not their friendship would survive and whether or not they would have a moment of awakening.
Each character stirred different feelings in me, going from approval to strong dislike. If I liked that Alex did not care to be seen with the popular and most attractive guys of the school when compared to her best-friends, I also disliked how she lied and hurt those she cared about. If Veronica was despicable in her role of a sex-hoarder, she also appeared fragile and really in search of love. She always wanted to fit in, to be accepted for whom she was and to be seen as someone with more substance instead of the Barbie look her friends attributed her. Among the three however, I found Mollie to be the most despicable of them three. Despite that I also saw her as being scared to not count, to be in the shadows of Alex and Veronica. Despite some humanity in their actions, I found no real connection to the characters. When the story came to its end I was sad to see that neither character had grown and learned from this short time in their friendship life. I wish Lauren Saft had taken her time to explore each character in a more personal level. What made Alex, Mollie and Veronica be so mean? What had shaped them and their unhealthy behavior? It would have been nice to do without all the slut-shaming as well.
Is this book for everyone? Definitely not. It will not appeal to those looking for a Gossip Girl like novel, nor to those who get easily offended by strong language and graphic content. I think in order to enjoy the book for what it is is to take some distance from trying to compare it to any previous work that exist in this same genre. But it does make for an easy and quick read – if one is looking for something in that department. Lauren Saft has a clearly a lot more to learn in the department of storytelling, but her writing style is just as refreshing.