Kelly Hager's Reviews > Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
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's review
Dec 19, 2011

really liked it
Read from December 19 to 20, 2011

Helen and Lauren were best friends since birth. Sure, Lauren was a high-maintenance friend, but Helen thinks it's worth it. Until Lauren sells her out for popularity. (And when I say "sells her out," I mean "betrays her and ruins her life.") It's so bad that Helen's family moves to another state. Flash forward several years. Helen's lost a ton of weight and is now pretty and semi-popular at her New York school. And then her parents drop the bombshell: they have a great job opportunity which means that Helen's heading back to her old school. And Lauren.

Helen's like, "What? NO!" but then she gets a wonderful/awful idea. She is going to take down Lauren Wood. She writes a list of everything that's important to Lauren (popularity, boyfriend, drama club lead) and sets out to take away all the things. She goes by Claire (her middle name) and all goes according to plan...until she meets this guy, Christopher and makes a real friend (Brenda). Is her plan really worth risking the good things in her life?

This book is an updated version of The Count of Monte Cristo (which I still haven't read) but it also works as a retelling of Mean Girls. It's not exactly a secret that girls are completely awful to each other in middle and high school, and this book is a perfect example of the way that girls are cruel. I think it's probably so much easier to be a guy. You have a problem with someone, you punch them in the face and it's done. With girls, you're nice to each other on the surface, but you make little joking comments that are just a little bit too cutting to be legitimately teasing, or you bash someone whenever they aren't around.

But this book isn't a sociological story of the way that teenage girls deal with their problems. It's incredibly fun (and funny) and it's hard not to root for Helen-as-Claire, even as you know that she's getting farther and farther away from the person she should be.

I'm hoping to read her other novels (What Would Emma Do, Unraveling Isobel and Unpredictable) next year. The two I've read so far are completely delightful.

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