Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “His Favorites” as Want to Read:
His Favorites
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

His Favorites

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,348 ratings  ·  368 reviews
From the highly acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award finalist and author of A Short History of Women, a searing and timely novel about a teenaged girl, a charismatic teacher, and a dark, open secret.

They were on a lark, three teenaged girls speeding across the greens on a “borrowed” golf cart, at night, drunk. The cart crashes and one of the girls lands violently in
...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Scribner
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about His Favorites, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about His Favorites

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,348 ratings  ·  368 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of His Favorites
Diane S ☔
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
DEVASTATING BUT TIMELY. Three young girls, fifteen, drinking, decide on a lark, stealing a golf cart for a wild, nighly ride, that has a horrific end. Enough so a mother feels the urgent need to give her daughter a new start, sending her away to a boarding school. What she encounters there will haunt her for the rest of her life.

The me too movement, the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, people entrusted with power of one sort or another, instead use it for their own gain. Preying on the wea
...more
Maxwell
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I picked this up on a whim at the library having heard nothing about it beforehand. I'd hazard to say that this book should be read without reading the blurb on the cover's flap, as it gives quite a bit away that happens within the first 10 pages and are more enjoyable upon one's own discovery. Nonetheless, I adored Walbert's writing style. She captures intensity so well, a poetic expression of grief and sorrow and rage and angst. But it is short-lived; the book is only 160 pages and definitely ...more
Perry
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pugilistic pack of punch, pop, pummel--at 160 pages--for this era of reckoning for men who've abused positions of power and trust to sexually assault, rape and/or sexually harass females. His Favorites sketches--in shades of charcoal looking back from today-- the type of mental devastation suffered by a woman who was violated as a 15-year-old at a private boarding school in the early 1980s, and the detritis, still, of dreams wrecked by a charming pedophile who targeted her among many others most ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With sparse, lyrical language, author of His Favorites, Kate Walbert, shines a light on women’s rights as she tells us about Jo’s tragic and unsettling experiences. After being in a deadly accident at 15 years old with her best friends, Jo, a wild and now emotionally broken high school student is sent off to boarding school. Her life at home crumbled, her friendships broken, and the new beginning her life away at school had the potential of being is not going in the right direction. Memories and ...more
Kate
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought this was going to a winner for me. I love the plot- a 15 year old girl accidentally kills her best friend, her parents marriage tanks, and she finds herself at a boarding school where an English teacher preys upon his favorites.

But I found the writing style stiff and jumpy. So much is left unsaid, unexplained. For such a short book, it gets bogged down by long sentences and constant detours.

It is a short read, so if you like Walberts writing style, then you may very well enjoy this.
...more
lark benobi
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: she-2020, 2020, scribner
Somehow this book escaped me last year and it wasn't until I read a review of My Dark Vanessa that mentioned it that I sought it out.

As someone who grew up next to a golf course, and who spent my pre-kindergarten days, even the rain-pelting-down days (it was Seattle, after all), walking the golf course behind my scratch-golfer mother, I might be predisposed to adore this book more than others, because Walbert nails golf-course rhythms, golf-course culture, golf-course smells so accurately in th
...more
Emma Eisenberg
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A stunner of a nugget, but ultimately unsatisfying for me sadly. On the sentence level Walbert slays, but the ambition of this book simply feels bigger than 149 pages allows, no matter how artfully arranged. I would have liked to see this book more fully imagined & realized. The Master and those at the boarding school read like cartoon villains, when perhaps what is most insidious about predators in these environments are the ways they are also human. Would have liked to see more bodies on the p ...more
Karen Foster
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There are times when you just feel you are in the safe hands of a truly skilled writer.
As an older Jo narrates her tragic tale, looking back to when she is 15, she wanders off course, as memories materialize vividly, relaying her heartbreaking account, often veering away from the chronology. It’s as though she cannot bear to tell us what happened to her. And this kept me so gripped, anxious to discover her story.
The writing is sparse and exact, yet I really connected with Jo..... It’s a style I
...more
Chelsea Humphrey
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think it comes down to the fact that this one just wasn’t for me. I wanted more, and it wasn’t what I had expected from the blurb on the back. The writing is excellent though, and I would be interested in reading another plot from Walbert in the future.
Martie Nees Record
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Pub. Date: Aug. 14, 2018

"His Favorites” is a slice of life story about the wealthy with two different plotlines connected by the female protagonist, Jo. It is written by the acclaimed American author Kate Walbert. Similar to Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, “Prep,” this tale is a powerful coming of age story that spotlights (no matter how rich you are) the vulnerability and powerlessness of female girls. Unlike “Prep,” there is no laught
...more
Danni
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2018
Honestly if this weren't so short, I might have abandoned halfway through.

Jo kills her friend when recklessly driving a golf cart late at night, and so she gets sent away to boarding school, where she is preyed upon by a teacher.

This a plot that I would expect to like, but the characters are never properly developed and the issues not fully explored. The writing is lovely but meandering.

Would not recommend.
Alison Hardtmann
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
His Favorites by Kate Walbert is a novel best read with as little knowledge about it as possible. The book begins with fifteen-year-old Jo hanging out with her two best friends one night, when they decide to steal a golf cart and go joy-riding around the course.

His Favorites is a very short novel, that covers a lot of ground, but each paragraph and sentence is so well-crafted, and the book is so well put together that it has the impact of a much larger work. If you decide to read it, I highly r
...more
Patrick Brown
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kind of a strange book from a pacing perspective. I struggled through the first 30-40 pages, and then read the rest in basically one sitting. Some beautiful writing and a fun, tricky narrative.
Holly
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This was really excellent. I remember how Walbert's A Short History of Women left me kind of cold, but this short novel struck me. The final image is incredibly sad and very powerful. After reading this I am all the more infuriated by Betsy DeVos's proposed new "protections" for the accused in school sexual harassment/assault cases.
Elle K
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Spotty and filled with run-on sentences that empty the story. There are better novels that tackle similar issues.
Elizabeth
this is a timely read for #metoo & another devastating story of trauma. it is upsetting to read the many accounts & instances where grown-ups failed to protect young women (in both fiction & non-fiction). in this novel, a young woman remembers past events & reveals only fragments of her memories. i found the writing in this book to be reflective of memory; it's not always linear, the narrative wanders a bit, and at times it's strange. the way this story is told won't be for everyone but i found ...more
Elizabeth
A short, stylish book. Minimalist, but very pointed. A young girl is sent to boarding school after a tragic accident; She's vulnerable--only 15 years old--and the perfect target. What happens next is all too believable.

It's a story of power dynamics, both between genders and also among the same sex. Perhaps the most convincing thing about this book is how familiar the story feels. You could be listening to a friend, who is telling you their past in a whisper, or reading a headline. Walbert writ
...more
Diana
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m being generous with the three stars; this tale was a waste of time. Too many stories out there like it, but written much better, or simply true.
Rebecca
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, thank you to Scribner books for the copy of His Favorites as I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own.

Incredibly haunting and poignant His Favorites is told in narrative by Jo. At just 15 years old Jo accidentally kills her best friend which ultimately shuns her family from the community and takes a toll on her parents marriage. Jo's mother decides to send her to Hawthorne, a boarding school where Jo will face the demon who is referred
...more
Aria
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

Idk wth is going on here, but there was no point in trying to get to the end of this when it wasn't making any sense at all. Maybe there is a story in there somewhere, but I have no idea what it might be. It jumped around. The run-on sentences were ridiculous. No characters w/ any, well, character. Sadly, nothing of interest here. The description on goodreads is as good as it gets with this thing. Hate it, but there you have it

...more
Chris Carithers
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I should have smashed those spectacles to glass so fine he would never not remember how I ruined his vision - decisive, quick, imperative - and wrecked that world of his own making, its heroes, its scholars, it founding members, generals, politicians, row after row after row after row of men and not real and not true for me, for me, not how I was, or what I saw and thought. Not anything. I could have; I should have; I did not.

But I was fifteen. I could no more have formed those words, those th
...more
Susan
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Contains some of the longest run-on sentences that I have ever read. So long that I had to read them again to remember what the subject of the sentence was meant to be. For example, pages 51 and 52. The book is difficult to follow as it jumps around in time without any indication.

While the topics are relevant, the execution and resolutions/conclusions of them are lacking. At least, for me. As they say, to each his own.

Marjorie
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is so much packed into this small book. The author conveyed such emotion and fully drawn out characters with few words. But, nothing was missing and the story resonated so much personally and with what’s going on in the world today.
Lynnaea
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I regret reading this book. There's a huge set-up - a deep dark, premise that is intriguing - yet the actual plot is a complete let down.

That being said, I felt like the actual story was true to real life. The author describes several instances of female characters being abused, violated, let down, etc. in many contexts. The result is sort of a "free association" or train-of-thought retelling of the author's experiences being abused by a teacher. This fits with how we often remember stories, co
...more
Kelly Keefe
Mar 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
What the F*** did I just read?
Jessica Park
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Read this bc Becca loved it.

I love the last image of Jo and Stephanie in the magnolia tree and I love the poetics woven into the pattern of the text. It’s both beautiful and ominous

But this book is like The Vegetarian or Lolita. I can appreciate it, but I can’t say that I ...like it?
Sonya
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This novel and I did not get along. It is overwritten and full of digressions. I wanted to like it more. I read another goodreads review that is similar to my reaction and some other person chastised her and said she was apparently expecting a romance and that this novel is timely and excellent and that the reviewer wasn't sympathetic to the #metoo moment. I didn't see anything in the review that said she was expecting a romance. She commented on the craft and structure, not the story. Not every ...more
SpookBooks
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
Where is the follow through? What's with the time skipping? There's no indicators to time skips. There's not really any reasons for them either. The plot is so convoluted and backwards I just...
Kristen
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friendship
Sparse and eloquent... just a really perfectly constructed book that almost reads like a short story. Really lovely.
Kourtney
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
For those in the Speech and Forensics world out there, would make a really lovely Prose or even Duo.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Trust Exercise
  • The Incendiaries
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • Late in the Day
  • The Body in Question
  • Writers & Lovers
  • The Wildlands
  • Waiting for Eden
  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • Weather
  • The Power Notebooks
  • The Friend
  • Godshot
  • Women Talking
  • The New Me
  • Looker
  • The Need
  • I Hold a Wolf by the Ears
See similar books…
174 followers
Kate Walbert was born in New York City and raised in Georgia, Texas, Japan and Pennsylvania, among other places.

She is the author of A Short History of Women, chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2009 and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize; Our Kind, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2004; The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the 2002 Connecti
...more

News & Interviews

While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are a...
162 likes · 30 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I don’t know how others reconcile what happened before with what happens now. For me, the past is a cool, dark pond in which I will always stand partially submerged. That’s just the way it is.” 1 likes
“So here is what actually happened, what happens still: the scene on its parallel track to now, to me: linear and constant, never passing into the past, never speeding into the future.” 0 likes
More quotes…