Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica 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?Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Novl and NetGalley for the review copy! Receiving one did not affect my views of the novel.
It was a Sunday and as a habit, I always sample books on my Kindle before I go to sleep. I checked the books publishing this June and remembered that Those Girls was publishing a week from then. I started Those Girls by Lauren Saft, thinking I’ll just check it out and see if it’s any good so I can read it next. But when I started it, I COULDN’T STOP! I ended up finishing it at 3AM and I ended up sleeping at 4AM because I had to re-read some ~key scenes~. This happened even though I had work at 8AM. Oops. BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
I was like, hey, I want to check out this book then I finished it. WHAT HAPPENED? A HECK OF A GREAT, ENTERTAINING BOOK IS WHAT HAPPENED. Sarah Mlynowski said it best when she blurbed Those Girls as:
“I read Those Girls the way you accidentally binge-watch a great TV show – I always had to know what happened next. Lauren Saft’s debut novel is smart, funny, and raw, and I can’t wait for more people to read it so we can talk about it.”
That was EXACTLY how it felt when I read Those Girls. I devoured it. I couldn’t stop. I’ve never watched Gossip Girl (fine, I watched the first ten episodes and all of the Dair scenes on Youtube I AM A PROUD DAIR SHIPPER) because I had no interest in seeing catfights and a group of friends backstabbing each other but IS THIS HOW GOSSIP GIRL was? Because I just might binge it. I APPARENTLY LOVE GIRLS BEING HORRIBLE TO EACH OTHER.
Those Girls was raw and real. I’m all for reading about awesome friendships but I love how the author did not shy away from writing about the toxic ones. Horrible girls in YA are far in between and it was such a breath of fresh air to me that here’s this book that focuses on them. Alex isn’t really horrible and I think majority of the readers will relate to her the most. Mollie is positively insanely scary and I LOVE IT. I feel like she will eat a person alive and her scheming? Oh gods, I love how I’m kind of afraid to cross her. Veronica, oh, Veronica. Veronica is that character in most novels that’s just one surface: the girl labeled as a slut. But I love how Veronica was written, with her own insecurities, being sex-positive, and the reasons why she acts like that.
You know all the secrets they’re keeping from each other will just be another wedge in their friendship but WHO CARES, KEEP YOUR SECRETS. LET THEM PILE UP. Some girls just want to see the world crash and burn and with this novel, I was like: OH YES, LET THE WORLD CRASH AND BURN. These girls are complex and Lauren Saft bravely wrote every gritty and shameful thoughts that crosses these girls’ minds.
I’m interviewing Lauren tomorrow (Don’t forget to check that out!) and I love what she said about how she wanted to write about the rarely-seen teenagers in YA (as protagonists, at least!): “the binge-drinking, sex-having, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed hooligans”. Lauren Saft certainly did not put on any brakes in writing these characters and the things they do. Those Girls features drugs, alcohol, and sex A LOT so it certainly isn’t for younger readers and for those with delicate sensibilities. It wasn’t pretty, not at all, but it was true. Because these characters are people that exist in real life and these things happen.
Those Girls is mercilessly honest and unflinching in its portrayal of the toxic side of a friendship among high school girlfriends and spot-on with the characterization of these complex, sometimes-horrible (but ultimately representative of the collective embarrassingly insecure high school self) characters. It was unputdownable and such an entertaining read. I will definitely be reading more books by Lauren Saft in the future!
Lauren Saft holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. She’s worked in publishing, TV, education, child care, retail, journalism, and food service, all the while closely studying the habits and compulsions of teenage girls. She currently works as a TV producer in Philadelphia where she lives with her cat and creative inspiration, Desi. Her work has been published in Five Quarterly, Rap Up Magazine, and clubplanet.com. One time, she met the Olsen twins. Those Girls is her debut novel.
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