This is somehow a magical blend of adult Sarra Manning + Sarah Mayberry + Jennifer Crusie. It's funny and sharp and serious, with seething workplace rThis is somehow a magical blend of adult Sarra Manning + Sarah Mayberry + Jennifer Crusie. It's funny and sharp and serious, with seething workplace rivalry and career drama coupled with crazy great chemistry and delicious banter. It also has unbelievably sweet and tender moments (view spoiler)[one of my favorite parts is them simply holding hands (hide spoiler)], though you'll easily laugh a minute after that! It captures that weird obsessive behavior you can't help when you first fall in love, and also convinces you that after a hard-won relationship, these two won't ever stop being endearingly, ridiculously fussy over each other. Hate-to-love relationships are so fun when they're done well, and this is the best one I've read, in no small part because the "hate" part is pretty convincing in the beginning. It hits all the tropes and scenarios you've read before, but the way they're done here is just irresistible.
Katy's review also talks a lot about the heroine's feelings of loneliness and failure, as well as the way a big argument between them is resolved: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I feel so much affection for them both--it's one of those things where you come out so pleased that they found each other.
In short, it's basically everything you could possibly want out of a romance, with the added benefit of having so many cute and quirky details in it. I felt giddy with happiness reading this book, and I kept trying to prolong the experience because I know it's the author's only book...so far! I can't wait until the next one. <3 Hurry up, Thorne #2....more
"You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male."
4.5 stars Holy shit, this is good. It sounds like it's going to b"You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male."
4.5 stars Holy shit, this is good. It sounds like it's going to be a revenge thriller, and it is--but it's also a searing takedown of rape culture and a merciless examination of the way violence begets violence. Riveting prose, three clear POVs, and a relentless story that doesn't try to provide answers, but forces you to think about the things we excuse legally and socially. In a year in which we've stood by and watched Brock Turner get a slap on the wrist, seen serial abusers publicly disparage the victims they attacked, and witnessed the repeated objectification of women on a national platform, this could not be more timely. I wish this book were in the hands of all teenagers, boys and girls, for the invaluable conversation piece that it is. There are a fair number of contemporary YA "issue" novels that deal with rape or abuse, but this one, in the guise of a thriller, hits home intellectually and emotionally in a way I haven't seen before.
But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.
There are a few things you have to accept for the purposes of the story, the biggest of which is a logistical issue (view spoiler)[namely, that physically, it's not that easy to do the things Alex did to Comstock (hide spoiler)]. I'm okay with looking past that, however, because the author provides enough convincing detail to make it worthwhile. The only thing that really niggles me a bit (aside from a slightly rushed ending) is that, in my view, Alex's feelings for Jack develop and progress a bit too quickly to fit the near-feral, loner mindset she was in. There's definitely chemistry between them, but I was still never fully convinced the two of them would have been a thing that quickly, especially considering his background and baggage. However, I liked that Alex didn't judge Jack or other girls for his past, I liked the way a real obstacle came between them (view spoiler)[that is, that he had a real problem absorbing the disturbing information she revealed to him; too many books let the BF/GF give the MC a pass (hide spoiler)], and I liked the fantastic way the story ended. OVARIES OF STEEL, Ms. McGinniss.
Bonus: there isn't the faintest whiff of the type of pretentious posturing and tiresome smoke-and-mirrors plotting that's become so popular in YA thrillers lately. (I'm looking at you, We Were Liars.) This book has things to say, and the writing cuts like a razor so that words nearly bleed off the page.
I'm really pissed off at the weirdly quirky cover art for this book, however. WTF is that? It does absolutely no justice to the intensity of the blistering words and emotions inside. This book is full of feminine rage, and while some readers might flinch at the violence within, I think it's rage that's been justly earned.
Trigger warnings for violence, sexual and otherwise....more
If Regina George wanted to be Homecoming Queen, there'd be hell to pay for anyone who got in her way.
This is pretty much the premise of the WINNING,If Regina George wanted to be Homecoming Queen, there'd be hell to pay for anyone who got in her way.
This is pretty much the premise of the WINNING, which is immensely readable and keeps you on your toes. Just when you think one girl is about to swindle another, the other girl almost always manages to see it coming and turns the tables. I liked that we saw various different POVs, and that one of them was the Queen Bee herself, Alexandra Miles. She's a ruthless, manipulative schemer without an ounce of pity, and her determination to win her crown (with the kind of loopy logic that only exists in rom-coms) spares no expense or feeling.
The thing about MEAN GIRLS, however, was that the film was not only a satirical look at social hierarchies in high school, but it was also so freaking funny. That's where the weakness lies in WINNING; it's definitely entertaining, and you want to see people get their comeuppance, but it's neither sharp-witted enough in its narrative and dialogue, nor smart and original enough in its plot to go down as a truly great and memorable book. (view spoiler)[Did you know, btw, that Tina Fey based her screenplay on a non-fiction book called QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES? There's a real basis for all those girl fights. (hide spoiler)] And then the door is left open for a sequel as well? Bleh.
Still. Points for an unabashed anti-heroine, for juggling multiple POVs well, and for a lesbian BFF subplot. These girls are cruel to each other, and it's weirdly gratifying and fun to watch...but not quite as fun as it could've been. I want a story like this to be screamingly funny--and to really go for the jugular, not just settle for a slap on the wrist.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Side note to those who might get upset over these things in YA, with spoilers: there's liberal back-stabbing and underage drinking, (view spoiler)[an adult is caught doing drugs, and Alexandra crushes pills into a drink and deliberately gives it to a couple of her enemies. (hide spoiler)]...more