Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Mostly Good Girls

Leila Sales
Simon Pulse
At her super-competitive all-girls prep school, Violet Tunis struggles to get the grades she wants in order to get into her first-choice college, but it's not always easy. Still, she always has best-friend Katie to commiserate with, no matter their differences in wealth (Katie's rich), looks (Katie's gorgeous), or grades (Katie easily gets all-A's). In their junior year, however, it's starting to feel like the differences go even deeper, like Katie doesn't think the same things or want the same things anymore. This book, told in short, vignette-style chapters, is the story of Violet and Katie's junior year.

And it's hilarious.

Violet is a smart, sarcastic, witty narrator with a knack for making anything funny. Despite her perfectionist nature and goals that include getting into a top college like Harvard, Violet's a relatable and wonderful character you can't help but cheer for. Her friendship with Katie seems ironclad, but is tested when Katie keeps the results of her SAT a secret and later starts doing and wanting things that Violet can't understand. For Katie, whom everything comes so easily to, every success feels like luck. For Violet, who tries so hard, every success feels like the end of a long battle. In spite of this, the girls have a tight friendship and Violet's love and loyalty to her best friend is always apparent.

I loved this. It's so easy to stereotype characters, especially smart and pretty prep schoolers, but Violet and Katie defy the stereotypes you'd expect. They're more complex and more interesting than the good, nice girls they're supposed to be and this theme of being nice, being good above all else, is a big theme as the setting - the fancy Westfield School - becomes a larger part of the story. There are some big issues at play in this funny story. Themes of success, happiness, friendship, and expectations are all explored. And though the book has a slow start when it comes to the heft of the plot and themes, they're nevertheless handled well and nothing in Violet and Katie's friendship feels forced or stilted. The more secondary characters are less developed, but it's okay; the story is so focused on Violet and Katie that the quality never suffers.

The only problem I really had with this book was that the ending - parts of it at least - came off as sudden and unnecessary. I wanted a bit more resolution than I got and a couple of plot points ended in ways I didn't see coming, ways that didn't seem to fit. However, I would read this book again in a heartbeat. In some ways it's a high school version of Flirt Club, which we all know I love. I really recommend it, especially if you're in the mood for a funny and friendship-positive book.


  1. omg I am so happy and relieved that you liked it!

  2. I adored this book and absolutely think Leila Sales is going to be the next really big author. Her next book PAST PERFECT is great too!

  3. Khy
    ME TOO. Now I think you should read Flirt Club. Because it reminds me of it.

    Jessica Lawlor
    For some reason Past Perfect interests me less, but I'm still pretty sure I'm going to read it because her writing is fantastic.