Sometimes the F-word can have more than one meaning….
For Cassandra Davis, the F-word is fraternity—specifically Delta Tau Chi, a house on probation and on the verge of being banned from campus. Accused of offensive, sexist behavior, they have one year to clean up their act. For the DTC brothers, the F-word is feminist—the type of person who writes articles in the school paper about why they should lose their home.
With one shot at a scholarship to attend the university of her dreams, Cassie pitches a research project: to pledge Delta Tau Chi and provide proof of their misogynistic behavior. They’re frat boys. She knows exactly what to expect once she gets there. Exposing them should be a piece of cake.
But the boys of Delta Tau Chi have their own agenda, and fellow pledge Jordan Louis is certainly more than the tank top wearing “bro” Cassie expected to find. With her heart and her future tangled in the web of her own making, Cassie is forced to realize that the F-word might not be as simple as she thought after all.
First, though, what are your thoughts on this lol:
Plot = Never Been Kissed (i.e. girl goes undercover and falls in love and has to deal with the fact that she has been lying to everyone...) but set in a frat house.
+ Really liked the writing style a lot
+ Points for a book that actually reflects current college life, albeit college life circa 2015. (Natty Light is still a thing but Yik Yak went down in flames around two years ago.)
+ The scene of Cassie teaching sex-ed to the frat guys was hilarious and on-point.
+ I thought the slow burn romance was sweet and well-written.
- The middle of the story had minimal plot structure and as a result dragged for me.
- The story includes hazing (including forced drinking) without comment. Forcing/coercing/cajoling others to drink is NOT okay.
However, here's the overall problem with Frat Girl (in my humble opinion):
This book and its main character can't decide if they are doing a takedown of fraternities and a critique of toxic masculinity or just offering up a fluffy rom com about a girl who's cool enough to hang with the frat bros and fall in love.
The book (perhaps unintentionally) does a good job demonstrating exactly how things can be problematic AND yet also appealing on some level. At the same time the main character is calling out the problematic stuff about frat guys and fraternity culture - excessive drinking, sexism, objectification of women, heteronormativity, classism, rape culture, etc. -- deep down, she clearly looooves being part of it all.
The book pays a lot of lip service to (white upper middle class) feminism. In the first few chapters, Cassie makes a HUGE deal about the fact that she's a feminist while her sratty roommate is not. Then Cassie keep spouting incredibly disparaging stereotypes of of entire groups of women through most of the story. She describes all sorority girls as catty, fake-tanned backstabbers while simultaneously taking a #notallfratbros attitude toward the fraternity guys and their sexist hijinks. I call BS on that.
This next point may sound nitpicky but hear me out, because it's a great example of how this book gets into trouble by attempting to be both fluffy and serious. Cassie's "research" shouldn't have ever happened under the auspices of a university. Yes, going undercover is an adorable rom com trope. But just like sex, ethical social science research requires consent. Not only Cassie is misrepresenting herself to her subjects and not getting their consent to be studied, she searches one of her subject's room and reads his emails - yikes. (Why not just have Cassie do the undercover project on her own in preparation for applying for the scholarship she so desperately needs? Problem solved!)
Plus, after all that "research" I don't think Cassie had one original insight into fraternity life except that some fraternity guys are nice and worthy of love too. (She never comes around on the sorority girls.)
In sum: to me, the feminism and the fluff undercut one another.
Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
For Cassandra Davis, the F-word is fraternity—specifically Delta Tau Chi, a house on probation and on the verge of being banned from campus. Accused of offensive, sexist behavior, they have one year to clean up their act. For them, the F-word is feminist—the type of girl who hates them to the core and is determined to make them lose their home.
With one shot at a scholarship to attend the university of her dreams, Cassie pitches a research project—to pledge Delta Tau Chi and provide proof of the misogynistic behavior for which they are on probation. After all, they’re frat boys. She knows exactly what to expect once she gets there. Exposing them should be a piece of cake.
But the boys of Delta Tau Chi have their own agenda, and fellow pledge Jordan Louis is certainly more than the tank-top-wearing “bro” she expected to find. With her heart and her future tangled in a web of her own making, Cassie is forced to realize that the F-word might not be as simple as she thought after all.
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine and I also ended up with an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.
Look, this book made me so mad that my dad's dyslexia spontaneously presented itself in me and I spelled "solidified" as "solifidied." (I'm not making light of dyslexia, I am certain I have an undiagnosed case of it because it's been an issue for ages. Just ask me about "atlas" and the 6th grade spelling bee.)
Content warning for sexual assault and sexism. The book’s antagonist also uses a homophobic slur.
One of my favorite things about the college I got my B.A. from is that it has no Greek row or Greek housing. Another favorite thing: no community/hall bathrooms, every dorm suite has its own. Hurrah for colleges so modern that they’re literally a single year older than I am! It’s a small college with just under 15,000 enrolled students and very little crime, but of course things happened–like a frat brother being expelled from both his frat and the university when he raped two women and tried to rape a third.
What Frat Girl wants to do is bring some nuance to that idea of frats as groups rife with sexism, heavy drinking, sexual violence, and hazing. What it does instead is come off as unabashedly pro-frat, anti-sorority, ignorant, and protective of both abusive parents and out-of-control frat boys.
Cassandra Davis has the money to attend her dream college solely thanks to the tech billionaire-funded scholarship known as the Stevenson Award. In order to nail that scholarship, she proposed a two-pronged project: pledging a fraternity that’s on probation due to sexism in order to report “undercover” about how bad things are in a modern frat house and conducting a single-blind survey-type study of other students related to their experiences with fraternities and sexual assault. As an ardent feminist, Cass isn’t expecting to be surprised. And yeeeeeeet…
But right off the bat, I’ll let you know Cass is a white feminist and it’s not because she’s white. It’s because she’s exactly the narrow-minded, exclusionary feminist who makes the entire movement hostile to women of color (and to Black women in particular). When she’s not appropriating AAVE slang (which is never addressed), she’s sneering at sorority girls for being shallow dolls.
To be fair, Cass does get her rear handed to her over her internalized sexism, but things get cancelled out when Cass fails to learn anything from being schooled by the same women she’s mistreating. It takes Cass half the book to so much as consider that sorority girls are more layered than she thought, but she continues stereotyping them. About a hundred pages later, a Black sorority girl outright calls her a white feminist and reads Cass the well-deserved riot act!
And yet we don’t get to see any change in Cass’s behavior because that’s the last time she really interacts with any sorority girls. Why can’t Cass get as close with the members of Delta Tau Chi’s sorority matchup as she does with her frat brothers, learning about the two groups’ dependence on one another and the problems of the sorority system along the way? Cass’s own preconceived notions and her lacking friendships with other women leave Frat Girl feeling deeply lopsided.
Cass is downright unbelievable and inconsistent in her characterization. The one time sexual assault comes up in the novel, a participant in Cass’s study details how she was sexually assaulted at a frat party. Though it compromises the study and nearly screws everything over for her, Cass reveals herself to comfort the woman. Even after that one-scene character’s painful story, Cass never considers keeping an eye on the drinks or looking out for other girls during Delta Tau Chi’s parties. You wanna tell me someone like Cass wouldn’t think of that from the very beginning? Sure, whatever. I’ll call you what you are: a liar.
Her romance was fellow pledge and resident Ken doll Jordan Louis is cute for a while, but then he revealed he “can get down to some Ayn Rand” as a fan of challenging books and it all went wrong. Suddenly, he acquired Paul Ryan’s face and it refused to go away. Say no to fans of Ayn Rand books, y’all! It’s a red flag on someone’s character if they read her books and don’t object to the crock of crap she called “objectivism.”
And don’t get me started on the hot mess that is Cass’s undercover study! Where in the world was the IRB? At best, that study unintentionally highlights the need for scientists to be just as educated in the humanities as they are in the science of their choice so they better consider the feelings of their human subjects.
Cass also comes out alarmingly soft on the boys of Delta Tau Chi. She basks in their hypermasculinity when it suits her and after some initial objections to the rampant abuse of alcohol, she soon joins her brothers in laughing it off and getting drunk herself. A guy gets blackout drunk so often that half of a couch is soaked in pee? Ha, funny! But we do need to talk about the relationship between Greek life and alcohol abuse. Let’s start like this:
For God’s sake, more hazing incidents than not involve alcohol and it’s repeatedly gotten downright fatal! Florida State University flat-out suspended all Greek organizations after two frat brothers got arrested on drug charges and a third died with a blood alcohol level of .447! You get a DUI if driving at .08 and .30 is where it starts getting fatal. If you get to a .40+ BAC level and manage to not die of alcohol poisoning, you become a factoid someone can find when Googling “highest BAC level survived.”
Just to top things off, Cass’s dad expresses his dislike of her frat membership by saying she’s “living with a bunch of boys like a cheap hooker” after refusing to speak to her for days. When Cass is understandably infuriated at her verbally abusive father, he demands she get out of his house and she declares it’s the last time she’ll be home for break. Cass’s best friend Alex, who had been the Voice of Reason thus far as one of the only people aware of Cass’s project, tells Cass she–not the straightforwardly bigoted father–was wrong and shouldn’t say she’ll never be back because faaaaaaaaamily. She frames it as Cass thinking she’s too good for her own parents and humble beginnings when it’s very clearly about Cass not wanting someone who treats her like garbage in her life.
NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. I do not accept apologia for abusive family members here. You are not required to keep a bad human being in your life just because that person is your parent or sibling. Just cut them out if that’s what you need to do for your own well-being. At the time I’m writing this, I’ve gone a month and a half without speaking to my brother and plan to continue that for the foreseeable future, including when I eventually move out. We live in the same house.
Don’t read Frat Girl. Especially don’t read Frat Girl if the Kavanaugh things have left you heinously furious. I am three kinds of exhausted after having to re-experience the book via my notes to get this review written. You can do so much better for yourself and read other college-set YA books like Gloria Chao’s American Panda instead.
This book intrigued me the moment I heard about it. I wanted to learn more about this one feminist girl who decides to go live among frat boys and write about them. And what I can say is that I am not disappointed. Not one bit. It was definitely different from anything I’d read before, but damn was it good.
Like I said, this book follows Cassie as she gets a scholarship to her number one College but only if she infiltrates a fraternity and documents her life there. The point of all this is to show what’s fundamentally wrong with fraternities, to show how the ‘boys will be boys’ culture is extremely dangerous. So she gets in DTC, this one fraternity that’s on the verge of being dismantled because of serious sexist issues. And now she has to write about them.
Yes, this book is 438 pages of feminism. Undoubtedly. But even though at times it felt a bit preachy, it was needed. I’m not saying Cassie’s feminism was amazing right from the beginning, it was pretty much white feminism, but I liked that when she got called out on this very aspect by a black woman, she didn’t try to excuse herself, she realised she’d been wrong about how she viewed feminism, and she changed. That’s something I really appreciated about this book, Cassie’s feminism isn’t the one you have to follow and that’s it, she’s also learning about what it means for her to be feminist all throughout the book.
Honestly, I never thought I’d like frat boys, but some of these guys were downright adorable. Like Cassie said at some point, the problem isn’t necessarily the boys, it’s the way they’ve been educated, but if they’re willing to listen, then they can change for the best. Some of these boys did change, they did acknowledge that what they were doing was wrong, and they changed. It didn’t happen in one day, but day by day they changed, one step at a time.
It was hilarious to read about frat boys listening to Cassie tell them about female orgasm, periods, and read about them taking notes and being confused and shy about this. There is some important sex talks in this book, that was so damn great, we need more of that. Overall, I really recommend this book. It’s a beautiful intersectional feminist book and I think a lot of people could benefit from it.
Frat girl is a story of a girl going into a all male fraternity and uncovering it for being sexist and derogatory towards women. In order to keep her all paid for scholarship.
Unfortunately Frat Girl wasn't for me. I found it to be a rather slower paced read. It took me ages to connect with the characters.
I think this book would be more suited for those that are going through the university stage. Unfortunately I missed out at going to uni so I found it difficult to relate to the story.
There was some humour and potential romance. I did like the concept of the story where there are fraternities that only accept male recruits but there are also ones that only accept females. So it would of been nice to see it from a different perspective.
I did enjoy how in-depth Kiley has gone in creating the ambience of uni life, drinking , studying, more drinking. I did appreciate that she has made the reader experience first hand the ups and downs of university.
I would recommend this book to others as I do think it has potential and definitely people will relate to this book. Especially if they have had experience.
Thank you to HQ Digital for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
I was really excited to read Frat Girl. Really, really excited.
I had refreshed and double refreshed and triple refreshed my library ebook catalogue until it appeared, and I promptly checked it out. I read all of it that same night (I think I went to bed a little after 2 am) and fell asleep right after.
In the morning, I felt very conflicted.
What I was hoping was a super awesome feminist, empowering story ended up leaving me feel a little unsettled. Because of this feeling, I went and checked out a couple other reviews to see what other people thought because I could have interpreted this completely wrong. Jen Ryland did a great job of articulating everything I wanted to say, so if you have a couple extra minutes I definitely recommend checking out her review!
But this morning (it's a little over a month since I've finished this novel) I had a short chat with someone on Instagram about this book, which really pushed me over the edge to finally write a review for this debut.
There were things that I liked--I like that Cassie finds depth in frat boys and at least has decent experiences with them. She learns about the connection a person finds in an environment like a frat house (and also about when you don't find a fam in the frat).
But I was pretty apathetic to the romance and it was wholly uninspiring compared to the rest of the novel. It was a romance. Woo hoo.
And some scenes were funny, like when Cassie conducts sex ed for the whole frat house which I found to be funny and entertaining, but there were other parts that just didn't really click with me.
There were two things I didn't like:
Cassie's ending conclusion wasn't really clear. I feel like Cassie never reached a solid conclusion, but rather ended up changing her mind. It felt like the whole story worked towards "Hey! Frat guys aren't so bad" even though I feel like that's not what the point of the story was supposed to be.
Although I think Roache wanted to bring up the idea that not all frat guys are bad, it felt like in the end Cassie was converted rather than understanding the very harmful history frats have had. Maybe I'm pushing my own views onto this, but I feel like Cassie's realization ended up ignoring the question at hand and became something that was more "Look! Not all frats are bad. End of story" rather than commentary on the topic that left it up to the reader to interpret.
I just got really mixed messages from this story, which leads me to my other point...
All the girl on girl hate, the lack of resolution for Cassie's girl-hating tendencies, and the double standards for the girls in Cassie's mind.
Oh my gosh. I was so frustrated at the beginning of the novel when Cassie was so demeaning to other girls and called them things like "blonde bimbos" and stuff. I nearly sat up in bed because I was so surprised that she managed to be so woman-hating and woman-stereotyping yet still call herself a feminist.
Initially, Cassie acts all high and mighty about feminism and scorns anyone who isn't a feminist and isn't "not like other girls." Luckily, this aspect of her changes, but I feel like the overall girl on girl hate issue of her personality didn't really change.
She ends up less scornful, but I don't think she really learned, which was my biggest issue. There's this one scene at the end of the story where she chats with some sorority girls in the bathroom and they let her know that she's treated them badly, and Cassie acknowledges this, but she never demonstrates this explicitly.
That point came near the very end of the novel and up until that point she was still scorning other women for being friendly with guys or dressing more provocatively. She held this view about sorority girls and I feel like she held them to a higher standard than she did with the frat boys.
In the end of the story, Cassie acknowledges how the frat boys are like a family, but she never really recognizes that within the sorority girls even though it should apply to them too. She had some double standards and I feel like Cassie didn't recognize the sorority girls' complexities and qualities enough.
I could enjoy Cassie when she wasn't participating in girl on girl hate. Because when that happened, it felt like Cassie was way too "not like other girls" and was completely hypocritical. I wish Roache introduced earlier a way for Cassie to recognize that her mindset to other girls wasn't correct. Because it felt like that didn't really happen.
Overall, this had a lot of potential, but for me it felt sloppy and needed cleaning up for the message to really shine through. And a much deeper understanding of the complex and hurtful histories frats have had in America. I don't think I'd recommend if you're looking for a good feminist book. Try Moxie instead.
“Love ending doesn’t mean love never was. It just means that, like everything else on this earth, it’s finite.”
*Thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley, and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review!*
This was such an easy and enjoyable read. With a strong (sometimes borderline preachy, but whatever) feminist message and the wildness of frat boys, this book was an easy hit for me. I've always been a sucker for books like this: a book that just radiates pure, mindless, fun.
Alright, now honestly, I understand that this book wasn't that perfect for everyone. It felt like at times the main character, whose opening chapters are spent demonizing fraternities and sororities, wasn't as sure of where she stood on Greek life as she claimed to be. (It wasn't so much character development as she contradicted herself a few times.) Regardless, I ignored it and focused on all the troupes I love to hate. I acknowledge that this might be more of an issue for other readers though so I wanted to at least mention it.
This is a bit random, but I loved the fact that the love interest was from West Virginia. I've lived in West Virginia a few times (I'll be moving back there in under a month, actually) and while the rumors about the state are usually true, it was nice to see a smart, attractive, and personable character hail from the 48th poorest and 49th least educated (out of 50) state in the US. Not all who live there fit the stereotype. :)
Overall, this book was an easy and fun read with some confused character but mostly humorous and entertaining characters.
I have really been enjoying all these YA-goes-to college books lately, and I was really curious to see what Roache had planned for us with Frat Girl. I will say, I was nervous when I first started reading this book, but then, I was pleasantly surprised by Roache's approach to many of the issues addressed in the story.
•Pro: What really won my heart were all the wonderfully drawn characters in this book. When I was first introduced to some of them, I thought they were going to be one dimensional stereotypical characters, but they weren't. In fact, many of them often surprised me, and Roache also allowed them to experience some growth over the course of the story.
•Pro: Speaking of characters that never stopped astounding me - Peter! He was definitely the best character in the book, and it was because he was so multifaceted and kept surprising me again and again.
•Pro: This story was really political, and again, I was worried, because it seemed to only be showing one side of every issue, but as I read further, that did change. I appreciated how Roache tried to show the issue from multiple points of view, and even acknowledged that there are grey areas, that good and bad can co-exist.
•Pro: This idea that grey areas exist and was acknowledged by Cassie was the real coming-of-age part of the story for me. That moving from seeing the world as purely black and white showed her growth.
•Con: As a sorority woman, I felt the depiction of sorority women was entirely movie/TV stereotypical. Maybe it's because I went to school in the northeast and not California, but my chapter had diversity, and I remember my pledge class being read the riot act, because our GPAs needed to be higher. I also got to spend 3 1/2 years with some of the most intelligent women, who were also campus leaders, and are now featured and honored as leaders in their fields. #IAmASororityWoman.
•Con: With that said, I wish there had been a look at greek organizations that did not ascribe to the Animal House mentality. Like with everything, there's a spectrum.
•Pro: Here it comes - I really enjoyed the romance in this book. It was sweet and honest and I could not have asked for a better romantic interest for Cassie.
•Pro: Roache did a great job with her treatment of the college setting in the book. Usually, we see mostly parties and classes are in the background, but she really brought us into that tricky balancing act that successful college students must master.
•Pro: This could serve as a jumping off point for some great discussions or inspire someone to learn more about some of the issues regarding different feminist movements and sexism. Though a little heavy handed at times, there are many ideas presented that made me think.
Overall: A fun look at college life, which also tackled some relevant issues.
DNF @ 12%. No thank you. This book was incredibly problematic.
First off, it's boring. I've read many books set at a college campus and they're rarely boring but this one managed to find a way to be dull. Also, I find the idea kind of ridiculous, the whole storyline I was curious about and wondered where it was going to go but it fell very flat for me.
Also, my main issue with this book. Cassie. I can't read anymore of this bitch protagonist. She's sitting on her high horse thinking she's all that when she's not, claiming she's a feminist when she's the complete opposite. And if someone says they're not a feminist to her in this book, she's judgy as fuck. Bitch, you ain't one either. She pretty much says that all girls, especially in sororities are 'fake-tanned sluts' and classes herself as the most superior woman at the university because she's like 'one of the lads' and doesn't 'put a heart over her i's when she's writing her name'.
AND, if I remember correctly, she slags of pretty much every woman possible, including tomboys who are 'just trying too hard to not be feminine'. Like, who even are you? I got too sick of her shit and have to DNF. She's also incredibly sexist towards all men as well because if you're a guy - especially one that's good looking - you're a player who has no feelings.
So, the lesson from this book from wise ol' Cassie?
Women - girly, desperate, fake and pathetic. Air-headed bimbo's who are an embarrassment. Can't handle alcohol and live on salads. Men - their brains are in their penis, only care about 'booze and boobs'. (B&B comment was in her own words)
She wasn't exactly all tough when she saw a boy she liked and started acting like one of those girls she was slagging off. Ugh. Fuck off Cassie. I'm pretty sure she's doing all this 'undercover frat' shit for attention.
If you want a fun book with lots of food for thought, this is it.
Cassie needs a project or she won't get a scholarship for the university she really wants to attend. An incident in one of their frats give her the best of ideas—why not she join the frat herself?
The first time I read the summary I was sure this was about a girl under disguise but Cassie really joins the frat as herself. The only part she needs to fake is the reason—reporting from inside so she can make sure they get closed. Because what could be more anti-feminist than a fraternity? Of course she eventually learns she was also thinking with bias and that (most of) the members were also people, real people, good people. Except now she's in, she can't back out or she'll lose her scholarship.
I liked how well researched the book was and how fun it was to learn about actual facts. We're smartly presented with even more than the two sides. It's impossible to not to opine, whether about fraternities, feminism or even what Cassie should do now. I'm sure this book will be super interesting for a book club. I'd love to bring it to a classroom as well, see what girls and boys would say.
On the other hand, Kiley overdid it with the information. It's not that it sounded like propaganda pro-feminism, it didn't. I just think she had so many cool facts and ideas to present, she couldn't pick the ideal amount for the book. So the book turns into blablabla at times and you may feel the need to skip it. Then go ahead and skip these parts, go to what matters, just don't skip this whole book. You'd regret!
I recommend it to anyone looking for a good-old YA to entertain you—the romance is also cute!—but to also make you think. It's always a pleasure to have something more.
Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
Not really sure what to think - on the one hand, really easy to read and I know virtually nothing about fraternities so it was all quite novel to me, and there were some good ideas in it. But there were also long diatribes that could be cut and pasted from a "liberal feminism 101" textbook that were awkward and clunky, and some of it was quite unpleasant to read (which I suppose was rather the point).
a little note about the author: i don't usually talk about authors in my reviews, but kiley roache is so awesome that i think she deserves a small shoutout. it was at the end (the acknowledgements section) when i found out that she finished drafting the book at the time she GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, which is totally badass. can't wait for her 2019 novel!
i binged this book in one day - it was so hard to put down!
being very much non-american, i knew nothing about greek life, and at first i had absolutely no idea what was going on. i tried asking my dad, who spent a semester abroad at UCLA, about how fraternities and sororities worked, but he was clueless as well (ok i was kind of surprised he didn't know much about that because after all, he went to UCLA and watches a crap ton of american dramas). after some research (thank you google) i started getting the hang of things, and started to really get into the story.
being a feminist myself, i found cassie's idea of feminism problematic - she calls herself a feminist, yet at the same time she keeps referring to sorority girls as "fake tanned barbies" and hates on them every time she sees them and just ??? i really liked the scene where she gets told off by leighton and the other sorority girls in the washroom, she totally deserves that and the problems in her thinking are somehow addressed. i really, really, really want to give this book five stars since i love it so much, but i really didn't like the girl-on-girl hate and that is why i'm lowering the rating to 4.5 stars.
i was surprised to find out that some of the boys of delta tau chi are actually super nice (especially bambi! i read so many reviews of the book and none of them mentioned him. he's adorable and sometimes stupid but i found him relatable because of how clumsy he is.) - the scene where peter, duncan and bambi go to rescue cassie from the sigma alpha guy was super heart-warming and i felt SO conflicted because i knew cassie pledges delta tau chi only because she wants to take the boys down by exposing their sexist behavior, but i didn't want these boys to be hurt, and ughhh i just did not know what is going to happen, and that made it so hard for me to put the book down.
++ the frat guys try so hard to change their ways and it just makes me like them a little bit more. my favorite scene was where cassie holds a sex ed class for the boys in the frat house and they pay so much attention - one of the guys even starts taking notes.
also, jordan and cassie are so perfect for each other and i love how much consent, respect and love there is in their relationship. forbidden romance is one of my favorite tropes and those parts made the book so much more enjoyable and fun.
Full disclosure — I know this author and have witnessed her mature from brilliant, thoughtful high school student to brilliant, provocative college grad. The very fact that she wrote and published a mainstream teen novel in those years blows my mind.
That said, I love the premise of this story. It feels very now and offered just enough complexity to keep me fully engaged. I appreciate the meticulous detail Kiley puts into Greek life (as terrifying as those details are to a Mom one year away from sending her oldest off to college.)
Teen fiction is not my normal reading genre, specifically because of the tendency toward melodrama and too much internal dialogue to explain “message” but I could look past the genre to appreciate the work and talent and engaging voice of this debut author. This book made me think and reconsider some of my own anti-frat assumptions.
I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I'm going to say with 100 percent certainty that I found this entertaining as hell. And such a fantastic change to have a story that matters take place in university instead of high school.
This was an interesting look into feminism, sexism, and the balance that needs to be found between the two in order for it to work. I did find this to be a little watered down in its delivery, but in the same breath it is *so* nice to read a feminism story that still gets the point of equality across without needing to burn bras and run around with hairy armpits. This could technically also be considered an educational book as it does explain fairly well many themes. Just so we're clear, I myself am a feminist, so most of this was already a refresher. But for someone new to the concept of equality, this is a decent starting point.
Cassandra Davis is a brave soul for doing what she did, even if it was based on lies and deceit. And while I did like Cassie, and approved of her end goal, I did take issue with her mindset at times. As I said, this is not a burn your bra and never shave feminism tale. That said, there were several instances where Cassie lost me in her ... preachiness. Being judgmental. Falling victim to that stereotype where you believe so strongly in what you're doing that your delivery makes people not take you seriously. So many of her internal thoughts seemed to copied and pasted from some feminist handbook from the 1970's. By her third reference of husband hunting and popping out kids, I was near being done with Cassie. However, I am pleased to say that another character sets her straight, and it really was a great turning point in the book. Just like feminism is about getting what men have in terms of work and pay and respect, if she wants to be a housewife and raise a family, then she can do that too. She is making a choice for herself based on what *she* wants, and that doesn't make her any less a woman *or* a feminist. Brava!
As I mentioned, this was entertaining as hell to read. The characters were great, especially the frat boys. You've got the stereotypical dicks, the jocks and prep boys, but weirdly each was refreshing. You wanted to strangle half of them and hug the rest. This mix of characters was really what made the story fun and drove the plot to where it needed to be. To be honest, I do wish there were some more female characters. Aside from Cassie, there was her best friend Alex, who kind of rubbed me wrong. Then there was Jacquie and an ex-roommate whose name I can't even remember, both of whom the author seemed to have forgotten about throughout most of the book until it was convenient. The dynamic between Cassie and her mid-western traditional family was good to see. It really provoked sympathy from me for Cassie and helped humanize her in the same way that the ex-roommate knocked her down a peg by saying husband hunting is what *I* want. My only complaint with this story is that at around 75% it became less a story of bringing down a frat, and more about 'they're not that bad, guys' and a forbidden romance—that admittedly was hella cute and so satisfying.
As a final remark—and you can skip this bit if you want, 4 out of 5 stars, get it March 27th and all that—the American college scene confuses and fascinates and horrifies me. I just don't understand the appeal and the lure of the whole system. The book opens with Cassie saying a $60,000 scholarship will cover a year of tuition. A YEAR? I went to both college and university in Vancouver for almost 6 years, and one year never cost more than six grand! True, I lived at home and commuted via bus, but good God! How is that the case at all? And the activities that come with Greek society ... I have never understood it. The hazing, the abuse both physical and mental. Is the end result really worth that? Plus that desire to have as much sex as you can in a week. Like you be you, but the stories I hear just make college students sound like animals. Then there's the under-age drinking to the point where people black out once or twice a week. And how is it that more kids aren't busted for it? The legal drinking age in Canada is 19, so it's not a big deal at all and that party-hardy drive is out of so many peoples systems by the time they get there. Honestly, the way it's all portrayed in this book and in films and on TV, it's a miracle half of college students ever graduate at all. My university didn't have greek houses and no one suffered for it. Sigh, honestly, the whole thing baffles me.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I had a hard time rating this but came out at 3.5 because, despite the growth and progression of the frat boys (which I loved), Cassie took way too long to show any character growth and when she did it just felt like a huge jump with next to no nuance.
I also found Cassie's view of feminism to be incredibly limited and she judged other girls incredibly harshly, especially her room mate Leighton, who showed significantly more growth than Cassie did through the book. Cassie consistently demeaned sorority girls, thinking she was better than them because she was only a member of a frat for a social experiment despite the fact that she liked living there.
Cassie only recognises that the boys in the frat are actual humans worthy of more than just the title 'frat boy' when she sets her friend up with one of them as another experiment and Jackie points out that he's actually a decent guy, something Cassie hadn't even considered.
When Cassie did start to recognise that the boys were more than just their label, the book improved for me and they clearly all learnt a lot from each other. I enjoyed the non-partying socialising in the house when the frat ate together or had a sex-ed lesson from Cassie. This was when their dynamic was at its best.
Cassie's eventual transformation from frat hater to frat lover was extreme. There was little discussion of the grey area, which was obviously huge. I appreciate this is because she'd grown to be friends with the guys but some of her experiences were incredibly negative, especially towards the end when her diaries were released.
I enjoyed the romance, it was cute and worked well for me- especially as Jordan really did respect Cassie's opinions and choices. Actually, after the first 35%, most of the interactions with the guys in the frat were brilliant and their slow burn friendships ended up being pretty impactful.
Overall, this is a pretty good book and I'll definitely look out for more by Kiley Roache, just hoping her writing becomes a little more nuanced.
*Probably like 1.5?* God I don't know. Strap in, whoever may be reading this, because it's gonna be a long one lol.
So my friend Erin and I decided we wanted to pick out a book to read that we knew was probably going to be bad but we wanted to have fun with it--kinda like watching a terrible movie and laughing at it. Little did I know that this was going to be one of the most infuriating books I've ever read in my life.
First of all, I want to start this review off by saying that I am very much a feminist in that I believe that women and men deserve to be equal and have equal opportunities. Some of what this book talks about IS smart and things that SHOULD be talked about, even if this talks about them in such a bad way. There are so many things in this book that I would have loved to seen discussed, if only it was under a different context. Like, these are REAL problems, but the way this book is written and the way Cassie goes about doing stuff just isn't the way the world should go about them. This book took all those possible good discussions and threw them into an on-fire trash can!
This book made me want to scream every three seconds. It revolves around a "feminist" joining a frat house for a project that will eventually try to get frat houses disbanded because they're supposedly “all sexist”. This is the premise. I think the book was supposed to be Cassie's journey in discovering that all men aren't evil and that people can be raised a certain way and then taught other things, but this book does a horrible job of showing that. "Show, don't tell" is a cliche when it comes to writing, but that shines so truly here. This entire book is just Cassie telling her readers information instead of letting them experience it. When she tells me, "This person is my friend now, maybe boys aren't so bad! After I thought this, I went and drank beer with them." I don't FEEL this. I felt none of her connections with any of these characters or saw any sort of development within her. She felt one way on page 340 a completely different way on page 341. It made me want to SCREAM. I took furious notes in this book because I was so fed up.
These are my notes for when I was reading the book:
-Wouldn't this book be so much better if it was about an outside perspective looking in on a girl who was in a frat? Or if it was about a girl who actually wanted to be there?
-Cassie hates so many people, both women and men (especially men as a whole) that it's making me nauseous. She's unbearably judgmental and hateful of everyone she comes in contact with, and the reason so many people look at feminists as something that's a bad thing.
-Okay so Cassie keeps saying that these boys are objectifying women, but how? I don't feel like any of these frat boys are doing anything mean-spirited. I don't know. The interviews didn't sit well with me either. This book just makes me feel icky.
-Okay so the whole point of this book is that Cassie is trying to ban fraternities. I hate this. Ban the BAD fraternities. Don't get rid of them completely. So many frats are just about partying, family, and having a fun college experience. You're not going to get rid of the sororities!! You're blaming everyone for what a small few do. I HATE THAT.
-This book is all tell and no show. I would understand this story SO much more if Cassie had been raised in a sexist environment--like if her father was an ass to her mom or something like that. But we never SEE THAT. This book might actually be really effective if we were seeing all of this stuff in real time.
-She contradicts herself so much. She implies having sex all the time instead of just talking/drinking/listening to music is annoying, then goes and talks about how it's okay to have sex with a boyfriend or for fun. I'm not seeing the boys ever say or do anything that should be making her upset. She tells us stuff the boys say, but I don't really ever believe it, because I don't see it. She basically gets upset at literally EVERYTHING the boys say, the music they listen to, what they do, how they do it. Same with the girls in sororities, and her friends, and LITERALLY EVERYONE. IT'S MADDENING. I'm okay with her having conversations about rights in the frat house, but she doesn't even do that. It's like she's making shit up that she's not even showing us. If you're going to show this, go all the way.
-Cassie DOES seem to learn some stuff and question some of the harsh judgments she's making later in the book, but to me it's almost too little too late. Why is this coming so late in the book, and so suddenly, without any build up in her line of thinking? It's never REALLY challenged--she never really changes her ways.
-Ironically, there's this big connection to F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Great Gatsby, when Fitzgerald was the most sexist bitch on the planet.
-All these characters just come and go. I don't feel any connection to them, ever.
-God I'm so mad. She has this 180 turn on her views but there's just no reason. There's no slow development or thinking in her head. It's all TELLING.
-The end of the book nearly had me wanting to shred it. Basically, all the shitty things she's been preparing all year about the frat gets released (even though she tries to stop it), showing the frat that she's been lying to them all year--instead of being there because she wants to, she was there the whole time to get *SCOOP*. Instead of being angry with her though, oh no, literally nothing happens. Like it's just a giant cop out in the last 10 pages. Are you KIDDING ME? Are you telling me that lying, judging, and trying to fuck over her friends gets rewarded with her life just staying the same? I am SHAKING in fury.
The ONLY reason I am happy I read this book is that it helped me learn how I don't want to act around people, ever. Cassie Davis lied and judged her way through this book, and constantly played the victim. I am the absolute first person who would be down for a badass, feminist novel. But ya'll. This AIN'T IT.
I enjoyed this book and it touched on a lot of relevant issues but I went into it thinking it was going to be a lot more incisive than it ended up being. The premise is that our MC joins a college fraternity so that she can expose the inherent misogyny in the Greek system. But because she ultimately becomes friends with the guys she lives with, the author can't paint them as *too* dreadful, otherwise why would the MC be buddies with them?
So instead of this being an expose on misogyny, this ended up being a moral tale about not pre-judging people. Which is fine and everything, but not really what I was anticipating. The narration was nice and snarky though, so everything skipped along at a decent pace.
If I’m being honest, I would give this book a 4.5 if I could because I really liked it and it challenged what I always thought what being a feminist means. I really liked Cassie as a protagonist and found her very relatable. The ending felt slightly rushed to wrap up the book, but the rest of the book felt well paced and I really liked it!!
Terrible. So unbelievably terrible it might very possibly be one of the worst books I've ever read.
Kiley Roache's attempt at explaining modern feminism could not have been executed in a worse fashion than this. While many of things main character and feminist Cassie was narrating throughout the novel were true feminist views they did not reflect through her actions nor through her dialogue. In almost every chapter of the book Cassie says or does something that places herself above other women, whether it be sorority girls, her mother, her friends, celebrities or the university staff. She constantly preaches about why we need feminism but only ever actively argues for the parts of feminism that include herself or women she can empathise with. In short she does succeed in explaining a large part of the why, hows and whats of feminism but then pulls it all down the second its challenged.
The utterly unrealistic characterization of not only the main cast but ALL of them makes the entire story read like a bad early 2000s Disney show. The dialogue is unnatural and oftentimes includes unwarranted edgy monologues from various characters. It seems that Roache doesn't know how to deepen a character without making them unbearably self-centered and 'depressed' for want of a better word. Personally I feel zero emotional connection to any of the characters unless you include a pretty heavy dislike of all of them.
Of course I have the mention Cassie and Jordan's more than gag worthy relationship. For a large portion of the book I wondered if Jordan's character was supposed to be satirical, a play on how female love interests are usually written, in fact this could still be true if it is it would be the saving grace of the book. Without it however the entire subplot could not feel more heteronormative, bland and uninteresting. There was nothing about their relationship that screamed chemistry and certainly nothing about either of their characters were changed or bettered because of the relationship. So my question is what was it even for if not to fill the Netflix Original Film quota of an unneeded heterosexual relationship?
Looking at this novel as a whole it becomes a little difficult to see what Roache's point was with this. If it was to explain feminism then it is an indisputable failure. If it was to explain that misogynists just need to be educated and not shunned then I wish she had done a more realistic job of depicting how cishet men in particular respond to feminism views. They were all together far more open and accepting than they are in reality. Whatever the point was I implore whoever is reading this review to please trust my word enough to not bother with this book and find something else which is less of a lost cause. Perhaps a feminist autobiography would be a safer bet.
I am no American and therefore only knew Greek Letter Organisations from movies or tv shows, and I can only say that the whole concept is just really stupid. It’s just very American and very extra for something like that to exist. I don’t get it. But that didn’t lessen my enjoyment while reading this book.
Maybe I understand the concept of fraternities and sororities a bit better, especially after Cassie influenced the boys’ mindset. I understand that it helps to find friends or to value brotherhood, but the whole pride that goes in being part of such an organisation is still absurd to me.
Right from the beginning I loved Cassie and I just loved her open feminism since that is not something that I’m often met in my environment. Mostly it’s either not talked about or bad words are included in sentences with feminism. My environment acts like Leighton at the beginning of the book.
I want to recommend this book to everyone, but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. For people who are already aware of the feminist movement and its actually beliefs, this book might be perfect. But for people who still think feminism goes against all men would probably just trash-talk this book because they wouldn’t get it. That’s obviously a problem, but I don’t think that they would change their mindset as the boys they are reading about.
I loved this book and it will probably be one that I’m going to reread multiple times because there are probably a lot of things that I’ve missed. I mean, this book made me scream at it, it made me want to throw it across the room because the boys were being frustratingly stupid and said a lot of offensive stuff, but I loved it.
And yes, I even loved the frustratingly stupid boys – obviously not all of them, Sebastian or Bass or whatever is just an asshole and god, I am so glad that he got his justice. Peter, the president of DTC, owned my heart as soon as he was mentioned on the page and I had to be disappointed by him, it was just so clear that he’d do something to piss me off, but I still loved him and hey, I was right, he is a nice guy (kind of?). Duncan, god, I am so proud of him. That’s it. I love him. Jordan. JORDAN. The best. Period.
And if you think that I didn’t also fall for the girls, you’re wrong. Not only are Jackie and Alex just very cool, they also act appropriately when Cassie fucks up.
What I think might bother some people: the romance. I loved it. It is kind of slow-burn-y very eloquent and there’s so just so much consent that the other frat-boy-idiots would never think of (*cough* the Sigma Alpha guy whose name I totally forgot *cough*).
I don’t think there’s one thing that I didn’t like about this book. Please read it because the messages that can be found in this book are so important for this world’s future and it’s very sad that I have to say that in 2018.
Open sex talk. Cassie educates the boys and (most of them) are actually listening and wow, I am so proud of my girl.
This is the kind of book I’d recommend to feminists and non-feminists alike. A lot of it was heavy-handed in the messages and would have maybe made more sense in the journal entries instead of internal dialogue, but the content itself was good. I definitely figured that her study wasn’t going to be all black and white, and the really positive moments were so heartwarming. I loved the relationships that were developed and one particular night that a few boys really stepped up. I didn’t do the Greek thing in college but this was a fairly accurate portrayal of a lot of the college experience in general; it felt real, which was refreshing. Bambi, Duncan, and Jordan were so great. I think I would have liked more depth to Cassie’s character (and even a few other side characters, including her family). She came across as very preachy at times and it was hard to connect with her. I liked how she started to learn from her mistakes, and tried to grow from her existing biases as well. There’s probably so much to unpack here but my brain isn’t functioning as well after reading that in one sitting.
A mixture between a slow and quick read. While I did love the idea behind it, it became a bit frustrating when the feeling went from feminine empowerment, to cheesy romance. For me, the story made up for it with its comedic moments. However, I definitely feel that there was a better way to share the story, without having pieces being completely stereotypical. Instead, it needed to show more variety in who people are. Overall, this is not a book for everyone, but I feel it's definitely worth the read.
The sociologist in me loved this book. It features Cassie Davis, a high school student from Indiana, who comes up with an interesting way to earn the first year of a scholarship to a prestigious college. Conduct a social experiment in order to conduct research on culture inside a frat house, social norms within Greek organizations, and potentially disband the frat. What she doesn't anticipate is the far reaching effects, both on her personal life, and the lives of the fraternity brothers.
My own college experience was far removed from Cassie's. I didn't go to any frat parties, I only had a few friends. But I could definitely still relate on some levels. I lived in coed dorms all four years, so there was the general banter between all of us, that's similar to the banter between Cassie and her "brothers".
My sophmore year of college I had a roomate much like Leighton. Complete with Louis Vuitton luggage, and the haughty attitude that said she felt she was much too good to be sharing a room with the likes of me. I endured the riduculous screeching of her sorority sisters when they stopped by our room and I happened to be there. Frat boys sleeping over, and the ridiculous drama that came with too much drinking, (Hers, not mine) Needless to say, I had a single room for the remainder of my college life because the experiences with this roomate were not ones I wanted to suffer through again.
Cassie as a character is probably not too much like me personally, other than studying sociology and gender issues. I'm not a girly girl, and she seems to be one, at least on some level. But I do like her edginess. She stands up for what she feels is right, and doesn't give a fuck about it.
So much so that at one point she almost blows her entire experiment when she bursts out of an interview room to talk to one of the subjects after the recount a painful experience. The researcher in me was thinking "Oh no, what are you doing?!?! The other part was thinking "I probably would have done the same thing.
The author does a nice job of intermixing formal writing, for the research parts of the story, and the parts that deal with some of the heavier subject matter when the characters are discussing feminism, and keeping it real, and genuine. Although I really could have done without the use of the word "fuckbois". That's just an annoying textspeak term to me, but I see why she used it.
As Cassie gets more involved both with pledging, and with her project, you can tell that its going to be difficult to see how this all will turn out. She gets personally involved, which I know would be hard not to do, social experiment or not. But, because of the experiment, her experiences and friendships are based on mistruths.
The "relationship" she has with Connor is stereotypical. He only wants one thing, and turns into an ass when she says no. Her relationship with Jordan is sweeter. Though I didn't find it overly ridiculous, like it could have been. It felt just right.
I also really liked Duncan's character. He's the perfect mixture of a macho football player but someone who also cares about people. Cassie really seems to have an impact on him, as is apparent in one of his last scenes in the book.
The serious subjects of the book are important, and dealt with well. This also gave me some serious laughs. Since this is an ARC, I can't quote directly, because I can't compare with the finished book, but lets just say there is a scene where the frat brothers talk about "laying eggs" that had me laughing pretty hard.
The twist from Peter at the end isn't really one I had expected, but I definitely appreciated it. On the level of the impact of Cassie's influence, and on a personal level, I agreed with what he had to say.
Given that Cassie has to propose a new project each year to maintain her scholarship, I think there's room for Roache to continue with these characters and I wouldn't be disappointed to see more of them, but I imagine it'd be difficult to maintain the quality and keep it fresh like this was.
TW for this book: sexism, homophobia, racism, references to rape.
Working at the Stanford Bookstore, seeing this one on the shelves with all copies signed by Roache herself was enough to get my attention. Especially when I found out Roache is a Stanford student and is there any chance I could've greeted her at the store entrance and not even realized? Maybe. If so, it'd be a real honor to meet such a terrific author.
Frat Girl takes the reader to Warren University - a pretty thinly-disguised Stanford - and has us see life there through the eyes of new sociology student Cassie, whose scholarship is all but dependent on a pretty ambitious project. Her plan: join a frat, and not just any frat, but one whose Warren chapter is on the point of dissolution due to a history of shitty sexist frat-bro behavior. There, she'll get to study, firsthand, the bonds of male friendship, and see whether or not they're really as bad as their image suggests.
Well, a lot of them kinda are. There's quite a lot of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. to go around among many of the unenlightened, even unwashed masses that populate this frat.
But they do have their good sides too, as Cassie eventually discovers while infiltrating them.
And there's some who are far more good than the rest. I'm looking at you, Jordan. More on him later.
The real genius of this book is how complex and morally grey it really is. As much as Cassie's supposed to maintain journalist-like neutrality as part of this experiment, her heart frequently gets the better of her, as I'm glad it does. The majority of the bros may be, well, bros - big old jackasses. But then witness the scene where, after Cassie has a bad hookup with a guy in another frat (who insults her horribly when she eventually refuses his advances), her chosen fraternity actually takes it upon themselves to avenge the wrongs done to her, personally. Cassie doesn't much like the sorority girls - she can claim it's part of a character she plays, a role of a girl who gets along better as "one of the guys," but she's not entirely faking it - but eventually gets called out by a black sorority girl for painting them all with the broad "basic white girl" brush.
It's one of those kinds of books where there's no easy answers - which makes sense, given that it straddles the line between YA and NA.
Perhaps the best thing about this book for me was the dynamic between Cassie and Jordan. I shipped them almost immediately and really loved the way their relationship developed - a bumpy ride, to be sure, but not a tragic one either. And on different levels, I related to them both. Cassie's way of looking at social interactions as experiments resonated with me because, as an autistic guy, I often feel like that's the only way I can socialize, by seeing all interactions as experiments. Not to mention Cassie being raised Catholic - though my family's not quite as conservative as hers, they're still just so enough that it leads to a lot of friction between me and them.
And then there's Jordan, who, in my mind, is an even better-looking Andrew Garfield (and as a fellow possessor of them, I gotta say, brown eyes for the win!) He's the kind of guy I would love to grow up to be: charming, sensitive, sweet, not at all uncomfortable with showing his body...but still, just restrained enough that making the first move actually petrifies him. (Though in his case, I think he's far less likely than I am to face the sting of rejection pretty much every time, lol.) And while we're on the subject of Spideys, he's got a little of Tom Holland in his characterization too. The actor, not the character. Because until he meets Cassie, he's not seen a single Star Wars movie. Ever.
(Verily, there is a Stiles GIF for every occasion. Fight me on this.)
I don't know if there's going to be a sequel to this, but with the ending as open as it was, I'd be surprised if there weren't.
Whatever comes next, though, count on me watching Roache's career with great interest.
I was really excited to read this book because as a feminist, this book sounded like the perfect book for me! Sadly, this book missed the mark for me. I felt like this book was having an identity crisis of sorts. In the beginning, this book felt like it was trying to be a story about teaching men about the importance of equality. However, later in the book, it felt like it was just a rom-com about a girl who was cool enough to be a bro. I was hoping this was more of a feminist book with a side of romance, but it didn't quite accomplish that. The feminist in me was so disappointed.
One big issue I had with this book was the way feminism was presented. The main character, Cassie, made it a point to describe how much of a feminist she is. The first few chapters of this book really drove home the idea Cassie was a die-hard feminist. However, I felt like Cassie wasn't actually the feminist she claimed to be. Cassie belittled other women and judged them without knowing them! She constantly would tear other women just because they were in a sorority or dressed differently than she did. Cassie would call other women catty or judge them for what they were wearing. It really annoyed me to read about Cassie judging other women in the same way she criticized men for doing!!! IT DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE!!! FEMINISM ISN'T ABOUT DRAGGING OTHER WOMEN DOWN!!!
I will say that I appreciated that the author really pushed the idea that not all frat guys are bad! Throughout the story Cassie learned that not all men are sexist pigs, which was a nice lesson for Cassie to learn. It was also nice to see that Cassie did have a positive impact on some of the guys in the frat, as they did change their views on women. However, I still would have liked to see MORE of the frat guys change their minds and become more feminist. The idea of educating the frat guys about feminism and equality seemed to really fall on the back-burner early in the book, which was disappointing.
Another thing I had a hard time understanding was the acceptance of hazing. As someone who was in a sorority, it PAINED me to see hazing so normalized. I can't even fathom the idea of hazing! There was zero tolerance for hazing in the Greek life at my school, so it was hard for me to stomach all the hazing scenes. I know frat life is different, but I just didn't understand how Cassie was so accepting of the hazing? The number of hazing scenes in this book was EXCESSIVE and those moments were never really discussed in a negative way. I wish it would have been addressed how activities like forced drinking and holding someone under water is NEVER OKAY. Hazing was just brushed to the side throughout this book, and I wish Cassie would have tried to help end the hazing culture.
The characters in this book were all interesting characters. Each character felt like a very realistic portrayal of the different types of people in college. There were a lot of times when I got frustrated with the characters, but they were still all interesting overall. Also, the romance Cassie had in this story was super cute. I thought the author did a great job at developing a sweet and believable romance! I loved all the little romantic moments throughout this book!
Overall, this book just didn't do it for me. There were some positive moments in this story, but I just felt like there were too many things that didn't sit well with me that made this book less enjoyable.
2.5 / 5 Fangs
*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. *
Trigger warning: sexism, sexual assault, rape, homophobia
In all honesty, it is very difficult to come up with a conclusive opinion about this book. My enjoyment sort of went up and down throughout it all; there were scenes I really loved and scenes I rolled my eyes at.
Ironically, for a book that centres around feminism, that's not its best aspect. It's good, sure, but there were several flaws, like Cassie's double-standard for women and her "not-like-other-girls" attitude. She got called out on it, which was great, but I didn't feel like she actually learned a lesson.
Another issue with the book is that it quickly went from feminism to cheesy romance. And, okay, romance is cool sometimes, but something about Cassie's and Jordan's relationship was just too..."bleh" for me. It was cheesy and predictable, and it quickly turned from a sub-plot to the plot itself.
But I will give plus points for the way Cassie broke down the Greek life system and showed that, more often than not, educating those who are ignorant is better than simply looking down on them. Not to say that misogyny should be excused, but there are more mature ways of handling it, like Cassie teaching her frat brothers sex-ed, which was hilarious. The book did a good job of showing that it's not really frats or sororities that "cause" sexism - sure, they could promote it - but the underlying issue is societal standards that everyone is brought up with, and often they don't see the wrong in them until someone points them out. A lot of the boys in Cassie's frat house show change when she educates them on how their actions hurt women. I was proud of Duncan the most, who went from straight-up misogynistic asshole to an open-minded feminist who would look at girls and see more than an opportunity for sex.
The ending was kind of...weird, though? Like there are supposed to be more pages but someone cut them out. It didn't seem like much was concluded, besides the whole "frat boys can be good too!" theme, which I'm sure wasn't meant to be the main thing. I would have liked to see Cassie spend some time with the sorority girls, especially the ones who called her out, so she can see the errors in her own view of feminism and understand that whether a woman is white or of colour, whether she wants a family or not, all women are equal and deserve the same respect men get for basically doing the same things.
So, all in all, I'd say this book was good, but it could've been even better.