Clementine's Reviews > Mostly Good Girls

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
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Dec 01, 10

bookshelves: 2010, ya, fiction
Read from November 18 to 20, 2010

Violet's junior year is supposed to be full of SAT prep, lit magazine editing, learning how to talk to boys, and hanging out with her best friend Katie. But as the year progresses, Violet finds her world changing. She struggles with the pressures of her academic career at the exclusive and rigorous Westfield School. She laments the new girlfriend of her crush to end all crushes. Most of all, though, Violet worries about the growing distance between herself and Katie. As Katie's actions become more unfathomable, Violent wonders if they'll always be best friends.

Leila Sales's debut novel does many things extremely well. Sales manages to get into the heads of the teenagers that populate the world of upper-middle-class private schools. The teens in Mostly Good Girls sound like teenagers who have grown up with a certain amount of privilege, but at the end of the day, they're still teenagers. Even though they are children of means, concerned with getting into an Ivy League school, their petty dramas are universal, and the challenges that Violet and Katie face as their friendship evolves will resonate with readers.

Sales also has strong technical grasp on her writing. The scenes where she subtly lampoons the ridiculous democracy of school decisions where absolutely nothing gets accomplished or decided upon for fear of stepping on anyone's toes are some of the best in the book. Violet's sharp wit and keen observations are well-crafted and deeply funny.

Some readers will struggle with the story simply because the book forgoes a big drama, choosing to focus on the smaller, realistic struggles of day-to-day teenager existence instead. Sales's decision to craft a novel about the subtle intricacies of female friendship and to not include any huge, life-altering events is a rarity in much of YA fiction these days, and it's a welcome change.

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11/18/2010 page 150
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