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Mostly Good Girls

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The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?

347 pages, Hardcover

First published October 5, 2010

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About the author

Leila Sales

14 books954 followers
Leila Sales was born in 1984 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in psychology in 2006. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children's book publishing. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write.

***Please note that I do not respond to messages sent to me via Goodreads mail. I love hearing from readers, but would ask you to email me at leila@leilasales.com, or tweet at me @LeilaSalesBooks. Thank you!

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 249 reviews
Profile Image for hayden.
1,061 reviews736 followers
October 9, 2011
Lauren Oliver called this book "brilliant" and "poignant." At this point, I'm seriously doubting her sanity. It's actually really funny how bad this book is.

The problem with this book isn't that it's stupid -- the problem is that it's stupid. The girls sit there during class and make lists of who is a virgin and who's not and how far they've gone. The first chapter (if you can even call what the book is written in "chapters") is a pointles five-page rant about a dumb teacher who went through college and other related life shit. The protag's best friend who is even dumber than she is says to get into his fraternity, he had to drink "a whole keg of beer." And I thought Kayla from the House of Night series was retarded -- she's nothing compared to the people in this book.

In the near forty-five pages I read, there was no conflict at all. She was blabbing on and on about her ever-so-interesting past and other related and retarded incidents she had with her BFF.

This is the first page:

My Junior Year To-Do List,
by Violet Tunis

1) Get a perfect score on my PSATs.
2) Get A-minuses or better in all my classes.
3) Do many awesome projects with Katie. (Note: Projects must be awesomer than anything we did last year.)
4) Improve this school's literary magazine. At least to the point where I don't have to pretend like I am not really the editor, like the editor is someone else who happens to share my name (huge coincidence).
5) Pass my driving test.
6) Maybe become famous for something, so that people everywhere will know and respect me?
7) Make Scott Walsk fall in love with me.

This list pretty much comprises the entire book, or at least the small fraction of it I could tolerate reading. As you can see in this list, there is no conflict AT ALL. Whoever approved the publication of this book has serious delusions about what makes a good book.

I'm also pretty sure no high school sex ed teacher in the world makes you say the word "vagina" over and over to get more comfortable with it. Pretty sure.

And now, a bonus questionnaire:

Choose the answer, A or B, that best suits you. Make sure you completely fill in the bubble next to your answer of choice.

1. Would you rather:
O A. have a best friend who thinks it is physically possible to drink an entire keg of beer
O B. have a best friend that has a brain?

2. Would you rather:
O A. write lists during class about which girls in your grade have had sex
O B. listen to your teacher?

3. Would you rather:
O A. whine perpetually about how debutante season is retarded and how you weren't invited but subconsciously wish you did
O B. save five pages?

If you answered A to any of the above questions, this book is for you (and you're certifiably insane)!
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
September 13, 2011

[Book: Mostly Good Girls] was a bit of a charmer, really. When I took it out of the package (thanks Nomes!) it pretty much winked at me and flirted it's way to the top of my to-be-read pile.

And on the whole, it was worth it. It's an amusing, irreverent story told in snappy vignettes and anecdotes, which gradually become more cohesive and structured as the narrative progresses.

Violet's voice is endearing, and I definitely found it was her (sometimes unintentional) humour and clear characterisation that carried the story, rather than the plot. (My investment in the plot/conflict was probably only tenuous, at best).

It doesn't break any particularly new ground in terms of the themes: the flux of friendships, the pressure of expectations (self-imposed or otherwise), high school drama, coming to terms with who you really are and what makes you happy.. but it's done in a witty, occasionally tongue-in-cheek style that makes it a brisk read with some poignant, reflective moments.

Mostly Good Girls did make me incredibly nostalgic - maybe not for high school itself - but definitely for the friendships, the jokes that are probably no longer funny to our adult selves, and the occasional ridiculous incident involving misuse of school property. There were some moments in this book that were extremely relatable and made me laugh - partially due to Sales' sharp style, and partially due to my own reminiscing.

I can't claim that this was a life-changing, or deeply profound read - although it does incorporate some bittersweetly realistic scenes between Violet and Katie - but I really enjoyed Sales' writing and humour, and I will definitely be reading Sales' sophomore novel:

Past Perfect  by Leila Sales
Profile Image for Morgan F.
512 reviews470 followers
October 23, 2010
It's Violet's junior year at the Westfield School, a competitive all-girl prep school. Violet has a few goals to accomplish. She wants straight A's, producing the best lit mag the school has ever seen, and for the perfect Scott Walsh to fall in love with her. This would be daunting on one's own, but Violet has her best friend Katie to back her up. However, something is different about Katie. She isn't content being the perfect Westfield girl, where everything is just so easy for her, and this isn't something Violet easily understands. With all this drama and pressure, will Violet survive her junior year?

Okay, hearing the book was set in a ritzy school, as well as the cover and title, I was expecting some smutty prep school story, filled with backstabbing bitches and girls that sleep around. It turned out to be completely wrong. Well, that stuff might have been going on, but behind the scenes. Violet isn't some quiet girl that every guy inexplicably falls in love with, like I expected, but she's an ordinary girl. I saw so much of myself in Violet it was scary. She is an overachiever with no experience with boys, who has an extremely awesome sense of humor. I liked how Violet actually proved to be intelligent instead of the author just telling us she's intelligent. If ever there was a female president, I nominate Violet I-forget-her-last-name.

This book was extremely funny in a honest way. There where times where I laughed so hard, the bit of pretzel I was chewing flew out of my mouth and hit the computer screen. Gross, I know, but also extremely telling as to the hilarity of the novel.

This book was truly a story about friendship, but it wasn't sappy. I hate sappy little stories about "true friends" and will avoid them at any cost. They piss me off. It's all like "Really?? You would die for each other??" Would you care to test that?" *I pull out a machete* But Violet and Katie's friendship wasn't like that. It was filled with inside jokes,a long history and a shared sense of humor, with just a touch of rivalry. It seemed real.

There really wasn't a plot though. It seemed that each chapter was like a short story in it's own right. Extremely funny short stories. I'm still laughing at the "Family Jewels" chapter. Most of the first half was just building up the setting and backstory, where the second half had more plot.

Overall, an extremely funny, charming novel that I was not expecting. I absolutely adore Violet and her voice, and I wish the book would continue. I was quite upset to finish. I have a feeling this won't be the last book I read by Ms. Leila Sales.
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews373 followers
July 6, 2011
3.5 stars

MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS was screaming out on my looking-for-the-YA-awesome radar after reading some ever-so-fabulous reviews late last year. The preppy cover* initially made me wonder if it would be too mean-girl, rich-girl, gossip-girl-esque for my tastes but the book was refreshingly charming. the girls in this book are smart and relate-able and, like the title says, ‘mostly good girls’ (like me and my friends were ;)

The narrative is told in vignette-style anecdotes about Violet's life. Leila Sales brings the funny, you guys. MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is reminiscent of Georgia Nicholson (although not as quite as hilarious or delightfully British). It is still energetic, upbeat and cleverly cool (but not in an annoying "i am too cool, watch me be cool" character way)

This is a book that had me reminiscing (in a grin-smile-chuckle way) those teenage years and, in particular, missing my best buds where we had (hilarious) shared history, running-in-jokes, lists (of all kinds) and big dreams (alongside being half scared out of our brains).

While I loved the vignettes and found the pages flipping fast, I didn’t feel as engaged as I would have liked due to not being grabbed enough by a strong plot (there was no main source of tension that had me caught up in the narrative ~ it was very much reading for the moment kind of experience). I wish Sales had had a bit more of a hook to pull me in at the beginning (although my liking to her prose and characters ~ with their general coolness ~ was instant).

It’s not a book that will linger but I had a blast while reading it. I think my teen self would have loved this more ~ and as an older reader, it’s definitely a book that shines as quality in the YA scene, but it lacked a bit of upper YA vibe for my current preferences (hence the 3 stars)

(note: I insanely loved her sophomore title Past Perfect  by Leila Sales which had a stronger plot (and genuine uniqueness), some charming swoon and the same grin-worthy sense of humour)

* actually really like the cover even as it made me wonder if it was my kind of book. It reminds me very much so of pictures by one of my all time fave illustrators GORDON FITCHETT (and his book The Twelve Princesses by Gordon Fitchett
Profile Image for Sarah Laurence.
261 reviews23 followers
March 27, 2016
It was wonderful to read a contemporary YA in which the central relationship/plot was the shifting friendship of two 16-year-old girls. This impressive debut felt realistic, honest, funny and well observed although small in scope and slow in pace. I preferred Sales's more recent novels which tackled bigger issues with quirkier characters. I'd recommend this book to tweens and young teens. Contains underage drinking, drug use and reference to sex, but the protagonist usually makes responsible choices and learns from her mistakes.
Profile Image for Andrea King.
228 reviews39 followers
October 18, 2011
I wanted to really like this one, you know? It’s gotten pretty good reviews, so I figured it would be a sure thing. But I just couldn’t love it. I liked it okay, but I definitely wouldn’t call it a must-read.

Right off the bat, why do the chapter have names? That seems like such a childish thing. Especially with names like:

Katie’s boyfriend (is probably not a serial killer)


Getting comfortable with our … never mind, I can’t say it [the it in question is sex. gasp!]


Katie’s family only talks to God

Some of the chapters were only a few pages long. One was actually just one page. When I got to the end of the page, I literally thought “One page chapters? Really? Am I in first grade?”

The plot was very basic. Two girls are besties, one starts to act different and like a boy, the other one is left behind. There is no great mystery or puzzle to solve. No climax to build toward. It kind of coasted along very evenly, then just petered out at the end.

To me, the story smacked of immaturity. Like this reply from Katie when Violet asks about her new boyfriend:

“Did you kiss him?” I asked.

“Of course! If you don’t kiss someone, he’s not your boyfriend. He’s just your friend. Who’s a boy.”

Really, is that what girls are learning these days? Or is that the result of going to an all-girls school? Maybe it is… Having never been to one, I wouldn’t know.

There were random chapters and sections mixed in that had nothing to do with the story at all. They seemed like filler, just created to make the book a little longer. I know most books need extra information to make a book more balanced and full, but lots of this book just seemed tacked on with no purpose.

The characters are rounded, if a bit shallow. Maybe I’m too old to really judge this, but they seemed so young to me. Not like any 16 year old I ever knew in my teen years.

Sales never made me care for the girls, to feel invested in them. At the end of the book, I didn’t really care how it ended, how each character grew (or didn’t).

The dialogue seemed a little forced to me. It was very casual and seemed mostly real, but every once in a while, somebody would say something and it seemed like maybe Sales had hit up the Urban Dictionary and was trying to fit in some teen slang.

Zero sexy hotness. (I mean, look at the last quote above. Can you see those girls doing anything sexy or hot?)

There were a few great lines, like this random fun quite:

I was almost hyperventilating with jealousy. Scott Walsh must be the perfect boyfriend. If I were Julia, I would have been like, “So sorry, family, the death of Grandpop is really sad—but I’m sure he would have wanted me to stay in Boston this holiday season, with Scott Walsh.” And the ghost of my grandfather would have appeared just to confirm, “Yes, my dear granddaughter. Stay with Scott Walsh. For he is God’s gift to womankind.”

The Sum Up: I consider Mostly Good Girls an average easy read. Fine for a day at the beach or a plane trip.

Profile Image for Nancy.
1,103 reviews410 followers
December 17, 2010
Leila Sales is hilarious! She has given the voice inside my head a voice on the pages. She's also inspired the voice inside my head to be more clever. Not that I talk to myself or anything because that would be totally weird. Okay, maybe just a little.

Violet attends a pricey prep school where the expectations are to play by certain rules. Dress just so, be just so, and always, ALWAYS strive for success by doing your best. Katie is Violet's best friend. Katie is tired of playing the game. Katie wants to feel validation for herself and who she is rather than following rules and adhering to expectations.

Truth is, I hit page 114 still waiting for the conflict or just to answer the question, "What is this book about?" On page 114, I realized that my face hurt. I couldn't stop smiling. The book was Seinfeld - a book about nothing but about everything and it was hilarious. The conflict came but I mostly enjoyed the parts where it was about nothing. As a good blogger knows, a good post is about nothing with a twist be it humor, meaning, or a dangling participle.


There are mature themes incorporated into the story. Language is not always for mostly good girls. Kind of like watching Seinfeld reruns but knowing the punchline is inappropriate for your children's ears and having to mute while they discuss being sponge - worthy (although sex is only an innuendo in the book).

The chapters are short and succinct which only adds to the humor. One chapter is entitled, "Genevieve is anorexic." The evidence is laid out for the reader as Violet makes the case for Genevieve being anorexic. She's absent. She only drinks Diet Coke. Every couple of weeks she will make some gooey, creamy concoction, like tiramisu, and she will bring it into homeroom, and she will demand in a crazed tone that the rest of us eat it. "All of it!" she will shrill. "As much as you want! Help yourselves! Yum!" etc.

Two chapters later, "Genevieve is not anorexic." In its entirety:

"Genevieve was back in school today. Turns out she just had the flu and was too delirious with fever to let any of her friends know where she was.

"When she found out about the anorexic rumor, she got all indignant and went around complaining, I can't believe you thought I'd been hospitalized!" Though she also sounded a little proud to be so skinny that her classmates had mistaken her for being in advanced stages of a life-threatening eating disorder.

"Whatever, Genevieve. It was a totally rational assumption."

It still hurts. I'm still smiling.
Profile Image for Serena.
99 reviews6 followers
June 11, 2011
There is no doubt that this book is packed with sarcastic humor and scathing observances of prep-school life. The vignette-style was one of the best parts, because a reader could jump around and read nearly any sketch, crack-up, and not miss an important detail to the plot. It wasn't until the end that the sketches began to connect into chapters and tell the story, so the first three-quarters of the book were snippets of Violet’s life full of humor and poking fun.

My problem with this book was it felt like the author lost some of her steam at the end. The "witty-voice-inside-one's-head" narrative felt forced, and lost some of its earlier punch. To be fair, the author had to connect the sketches into a book with a plot, and could not stay with her original premise to succeed. The narrative also provided for a lot of awkward grammar. While people, especially teenagers, do not speak in perfect grammar, reading the book takes away from the easy accessibility understood if the character was actually speaking to the reader in a coffee-shop.

Readers should be forewarned that this book is targeted at a specific audience. This is not an entertainment, Gossip Girl-style, prep-school where teens drink, smoke, have sex, and get perfect grades without even trying. Some of the minor characters may do this, but the majority of the fictional class possesses a hyper-obsessive dedication to succeed, and stress out beyond belief to reach their goal. There is lots of mentioning of the work involved to succeed at a school like Westfield, and some readers may not want to sit through this

The underlying theme of this novel will stick to its readers, but the inside jokes on the setting may fly over some heads.

I enjoyed the sarcasm and the jokes of this book, but overall the writing kept the book from being a major success for me.
Profile Image for Steph Su.
958 reviews450 followers
November 2, 2010
Humor and heart shine equally bright in Leila Sales’ brilliant debut novel, MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS. Female readers of all ages will laugh and cry as they relate to Violet’s difficulties and chuckle over her mishaps.

It is a sad indication of our times that we are able to relate so well to Violet’s situation. Westfield School is extremely competitive, and Leila Sales beautifully captures the utter ridiculousness of upper-middle-class prep school culture: the democracy that results in no decision being made for the most mundane issues, a lack of perspective, etc.

But what makes MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS so enjoyable is not a focus on its setting: it’s because the two main characters are so real, likable in their flaws. It’s easy to see from just her first-person narration that Violet is intelligent. However, she is also very much her age, and thus lacks a certain degree of perspective that makes her escapades so funny. Whether it’s attempting to gain experience talking to guys, to her confusion over Katie’s seemingly changed personality, Violet tries to solve her problems with typical adolescent gusto. She’s far from being perfect, but we love her all the more because of that.

MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS deals well with the sensitive issue of changing friendships during adolescence, but in a humorous way that is sorely lacking in YA lit. I think if I were closer to Violet’s age I would’ve loved this book to pieces: as it is, sometimes her drama grated on my nerves. But as it is, this is teen chick lit as its smartest and most incisive. It will make you laugh so hard your stomach will hurt, and yet it also brings to light the troubling pressures that high-achieving teenagers are facing these days. I’m looking forward to more from this talented new author!
Profile Image for Andrea.
268 reviews14 followers
November 4, 2010
MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is meant to make you laugh, and it succeeded with me—a lot. I could relate to Violet. We had a lot of the same High School Moments (we even had the same PSAT scores. Freaky?). This is an absolutely perfect book to combat any heroines with cardboard personalities. Completely loved it!
Profile Image for Pelks.
239 reviews23 followers
September 4, 2018
As much as I enjoy reading quality YA as an "adult", I sometimes wish I had read more of this kind of book when I was actually in high school (or at least closer to the protagonist's age).

That said, I still had lots of fun reading this book now, and back when I was in high school I was busy reading a lot of Tolkien, so ultimately I have no regrets.
Profile Image for Andi (Andi's ABCs).
1,550 reviews189 followers
February 13, 2012
It’s hard for me to talk about this book. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I expected after reading the synopsis. I was expecting a straightforward story (and it was in many respects) but the simple plot of a great friendship that was strong and supportive and changing and fun all wrapped up in one ended up being slightly more complex.

Mostly Good Girls is about two best friends, Violet and Katie, who are in their junior year at a private, all-girls high school in a town outside of Boston. It is a quirky story about the girls, their friendship and how they navigate the tremulous waters of their junior year. Dealing with the pressures of school and family, their friendship changes in a way that creates discontent between the two. Ultimately it becomes a year they won’t forget.

Told from Violet’s point of view the audience gets to see how she is feeling and thinking and how she reacts when Katie makes decisions she doesn’t agree with.

Although the plot wasn’t initially clear it did finally make an impact much later on in the book to leave me really liking Mostly Good Girls. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into it since I heard mixed reviews, but Violet and Katie made this story so enjoyable. The focus on their friendship was the absolute highlight of the story and carried the book. I found them realistically portrayed, down-to-earth and extremely likable. The humor and connection that they shared was solid, entertaining and downright honest. It was what a friendship is at 16 – uncertain, intense and sarcastically fun. I honestly giggled out loud a few times at some of the conversations they had. Sales wrote them exactly how I would expect teenage girls to be written. They never once seemed older then they were and I appreciate that in a good YA story.

Violet was the quieter one of the two. She was an overachiever always striving for perfection and working hard to get it. Katie on the other hand was louder and naturally smart. Good grades were handed to her and it she was inherently perfect. The problem is that Katie didn’t want to be perfect. She wanted to be who she was and not who everyone thought she was which caused a problem for Violet because she thought perfection was everything and Katie should be thankful for that. This, right here, is what caused the rift between them. Katie all of a sudden isn’t fitting into the mold Violet had created for them and she doesn’t know what to do with that. When Katie starts “rebelling” Violet freaks and the discord intensifies. Slowly she starts to see that perfection isn’t happiness and it is okay just to be who you are. Sales certainly did well in creating great character progression in a true and believable way.

The setting of the book was pretty accurate and typical for a private all girls school. As a graduate of one, a much bigger one then Westfield, I felt it was true to form. My school wasn’t as competitive when it came to academics, but Mostly Good Girls gave the same catty feeling from the girls that my school had. Everything was a competition and things were no different at Westfield. The teachers though, they were another story. They seemed to be totally clueless as to what was going on. They wanted everyone to act like one big happy family when that just isn’t possible. Especially when you have a bunch of women with different personalities. Instead of embracing peoples’ differences, they wanted everyone to conform and that just didn’t seem realistic to me.

All in all Mostly Good Girls was a fun and entertaining read that made me smile and I think will make you smile too.
Profile Image for Paige.
92 reviews29 followers
February 1, 2012
So this was a book I kind of avoided reading. I had heard good things about Leila Sales, and her second book Past Perfect has been lauded. But I guess I was nervous, mostly because the book seemed to fall under the category of "chick lit" and because I had seen similar stories like this before.

The book isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but it's a fun, sweet read with a strong voice.

The plot is nothing groundbreaking: a story about two girls, Katie and Violet, who are in Westfield Academy together and have always been BFF's. Katie starts to rebel, dating a burnout and trying to get drunk and take Ritalin, while the shier, more quiet Violet becomes terrified of her. I've seen this plot before, and the themes the book expresses aren't anything new either. The book is written in kind of a weird, meandering vignette style, and the first few chapters are mostly stories about teachers and girls' sexual activities. A lot of people might be let off by this strange style, since the chapters are more vignettes than chapters, and might give up on the book early on. The real plot doesn't begin for quite a few chapters, and when it does Katie's misadventures go full steam ahead. You become used to the style after a while but it is jarring at first. The plot in an essence is also a bit predictable; I wasn't surprised at what happened with Scott or Katie's choices. It is a cute, quick read, though, and the plot was interesting enough to hold my attention.

The characters were pretty good, not a group of people that would particularly stick in my mind. There seemed to be a lot of people at the school introduced -- the people on the Wisdom literary magazine; the yearbook committee; Scott's friends, etc etc. It was a lot to keep track of. Violet had a very, very strong voice. She sounded like a real teenage girl, an impressive feat. She was very humorous and cracked jokes, swore, and had realistic responses to situations. The book is really quite funny, and that alone made me up a few stars -- I laughed out loud a few times. Katie was a good character, if I didn't completely understand her motivations. I did relate to her and understand her feelings for the school and the community. I didn't relate to her feelings to so desperately need a boyfriend, however. Scott I felt disinterested from, and I felt like I only was supposed to care for him because it was constantly pushed: OMG, OMG, Scott is so hot, OMG OMG. I did like the way the author ended his story and it made sense. The rest of the characters on the lit mag were good, though some of them seemed stereotypical "mean girls". As I stated before, it was also hard to keep track of them.

Now, the writing. Sales has a very conversational style, and the book constantly reverts from the past to the present as Violet recalls vignettes and memories she shared with Violet, her classmates, and Scott. Her writing was very fluid if choppy at times, and the style of the vignettes didn't really start to take effect (and make me interested enough) until the middle of the book. Her writing was very good for a debut novel and it seems like she has lots of room to improve.

Mostly Good Girls wasn't a lifechanger, and it didn't break any boundaries, but it was a cute, interesting read with a hilarious voice and a good read for anyone interested in friendship stories and contemporary/chick lit novels. I had more difficulty rating this one, as my issues with the plot were major, but because I did enjoy the novel and Violet's voice I've decided to mark it as 3.5 stars.

Three point five stars (3.5).
Profile Image for Melissa.
98 reviews16 followers
July 7, 2011
Sometimes reading YA I am struck by a thought, I wonder if I was the most boring high school student EVER. my biggest drama was when I accidentally barely bumped the car in front of me with my awesome parking abilities, left no damage but went and confesses my sins to my principal who was about to retire and was a bit unnerved having a crying girl in his office over a non-accident accident...no keggers, no girl fist fights, so selling drugs...or my soul and no vampire sparkly boyfriends. Basically I was lame, still am.this is why I loved "Mostly Good Girls" because it was authentic, it showed normal healthy everyday hs drama..grades (I remember sitting in lunch no talking, just everyone doing their hw for the next class) drivers Ed (I hit the curb on my first test attempt, boys (do they even think the same way girls do? No) and best friend issues. I think more girls can relate to the feeling of growing apart from friends, even your best friend...knowing you aren't in the same place anymore but pretending you are, just because you don't want anything to change....trust me, it's wayyyyy more common than suddenly having a a hot mysterious new student with like hidden angel wings fall in love with you while also finding out you are descended from Hell Demons or something. I made that one up...thinking I should write it like now. I love the creative twists and unreal drama in current YA as much as the next girl who had a boring (I spilled spaghetti sauce on my new shirt right before I had to give a french speech...in French) high school experience, but it's also so very nice to see a book that I can identify with so clearly, a book for those of us who were simply "those nice girls people sorta remember but not that much because they didn't do anything that over-the top." I like how Sales created characters like that and then showed what happened when they reacted to the pressures around them, put on mostly by themselves....Katie's rebellion was natural enough, pushing her limits but not so much that it seemed out of character. Violet did several things out of her character just to have connections with her friend, which seemed legit to me as a reader, and as an ex-teen girl. These two caused slightly more drama than I did in high school...hence the MOSTLY good in the book title ;) but still I felt this was one of the most real, and funny, high school experience books I have read...at least based on my high school social standing haha
Profile Image for Kelsey.
466 reviews11 followers
October 15, 2010
Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, Mostly Good Girls was original, addicting, and laugh out loud funny. The characters were well developed and extremely relatable and I finished this over the course of a couple of days. I just couldn’t put it down!

The main character, Violet, was awesome. She was sweet, funny, determined, and a character I loved from the start. Violet was just a normal girl experiencing and loving life as she went along. Reading about Violet’s different experiences was entertaining and enjoyable. Her antics and ideas never ceased to bring a smile to my face and she just seemed so real to me. I especially loved her friendship with Katie. While the girls may appear very different, their friendship was extremely strong and they were very loyal to each other. Although they had their ups and downs, Katie and Violet proved that no matter what, friendship prevails. School, boys, family, money…nothing came between them.

Boarding school books are so interesting to me because everything about them is so different from public school (like where I attend). Going to an all girls school where everyone knows everything about everybody is such a different experience. Violet and her friends had minimal experience with boys and I loved watching how she acted around them. Romance was not a huge part of the novel and I liked how Mostly Good Girls focused on other aspects of a girls life than having a boyfriend. This novel was rich with friendships, adventures, and laughs. I have to say I loved every minute of it and was reading every chance I got.

I highly recommend picking this up. It’s fabulous debut that will leave you smiling and the main character is one of my favorites.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carla.
294 reviews69 followers
March 7, 2011
Ms Sales has made her way onto my auto buy list and this is her debut novel. I declare I will read anything this woman writes and will hold my hands up to a little cyber stalking. I've read her articles, I've read nearly all of her blog entires and I have read every single post on her Leila Texts blog. Okay, okay, maybe a LOT of cyber stalking but YOU GUYS this woman is so frackin funny it's not even real.

So when I first saw this book the first thing that entered my head was, why do I not own a pair of grey tights because they look fabulous and where did that girl get those shoes from. Seriously, if you know where they are from can you please let me know? kthnx. Then I learned it was set in some uber posh private school, so I was kind of expecting this razzle dazzle affair where all the girls either wore no panties or couldn't wait to take them off. BUT, what I got was something totes different. I got a story about friendship and not just any kind of friendship, a TRUE friendship and OMG it was SO EFFIN GOOD. Because both Violet and Katie like rock my socks off.

Sales has a way with words where even the most mundanest of observations can make you laugh. The characters she has constructed are real in a way that is hysterical in their honesty. Violet isn't some gorgeous girl who gets all the guys, she isn't the high school slut or the head cheerleader or that girl who falls for the mysterious new guy who has a deep dark secret, she's just an ordinary girl. A girl just trying to survive high school and come out of it in one piece with the grades she damn well worked hard to get and deserves. Her experiences with boys aren't very noteworthy, unless you count hanging out with boys in a group with no touching "sexual experience". Oh, Violet, I am with you girl, I wouldn't class that either, even if I hadn't gotten to first base yet. Sales manages to pull off a kick ass story with sass and wit and good times had by all. I mean, I laughed so much at Violet and her inner freak outs and snarky one liners that I wanted to keep her or atleast BE more like her, so i come to the conclusion that I want to be Violet when I grow up.

And oh jeez, Violet goes to an all girls school where they have to wear uniforms. UNIFORMS. oh my god, Violet how crappy is it to have to wear a uniform and have NO boys in your classes? VERY! This was like being back at high school. This book was like a TIME MACHINE. Opening the pages of the book was like transporting myself back to high school. How me and my best friend used to sit in our classes and scrawl notes to each other. How we always had a crush on the SAME boy, who most likely went to the boys school down the street. How we had inside jokes and history and could make each other pee laughing just by saying "Munchters". How we had those nerdy necklaces that split in half and you each have one (I still have it and we are still best friends now) but we argued and fought all the time and I always ALWAYS wanted to be better than her in school, how I found academics easy and always put pressure on my friend inadvertantly to do better, to be better.

REAL friendship. Thats what this book is about. And I think you all should read it. EVERYONE. Because it's not just good, it's absofrigginlutely amazing with a side of awesome sauce and extra good times heaped on top.
Profile Image for Lillie.
258 reviews39 followers
December 30, 2010
My Review:
MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS takes an irreverant look at one girl's journey through an all-girls private high school. Violet has a very distinct voice that shines throughout the whole book, and had me smiling, laughing out loud, and covering my face with amusement. Luckily, I read it mostly in the privacy of my own room. However, there would have probably been some heavy duty recommending going on, if I had been reading this in public.

Leila Sales provides a deep look into Violet's life, but she does it through short, choppy chapters that almost read like individual vingettes. Though, the book has over 300 pages, the style makes for quick reading, and the pacing and timing flows nicely to keep a reader engaged. While I did read this book for a read-a-thon, I can see how, even in the course of a normal reading session, one might move from chapter to chapter, and event to event, without quite realizing that so many pages are being consumed so quickly.

I very much enjoyed reading MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS because of the strong voice given to Violet. Even in the throes of a friendship crisis, she stays true to the character that Sales has constructed. Here is a book that I would read more than once, especially if I needed a good laugh.

I like to read issues books because they are important, and paranormal/ fantasy books because they transport me to another world, but the most critical aspect of a book to me is whether it keeps me engaged, as a reader. MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS did this. It kept me reading, and it was extremely entertaining.

4.5/5 for plot
4.5/5 for characters
4/5 for language

My Rating: 13/15 (4 stars)

Highly Recommeded, if you liked:

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Georgia Nicolson) by Louise Rennison
Profile Image for Sara Grochowski.
1,142 reviews566 followers
November 30, 2010
You could say MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is about high school and its stresses. Or prep school. Or friendship. Or first loves. But I like to say that Leila Sales' debut novel is about growing up... the growing up that each and every one of does in high school, only more entaining and witty than our own lives.

Violet is definitely her own person, but most girls will relate to her in one way or another. She's competitive, stressed about school, often feels second best, can't help but compare herself to her best friend, has been in love with the same boy for years, and she feels totally and completely overwhelmed the majority of the time. At multiple points throughout the novel, I found myself commiserating with Violet as she confronts the changes and challenges in her life.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is that there really wasn't one big issue. While I love novels that confront big, difficult topics like the death of a loved one, teen pregnancy, drug use, etc, etc, MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS took a different approach. There is some talk of bullying, but, for the most part, Violet is dealing with everyday, "normal" issues. Like grades and the distance that sometimes forms between previously inseparable best friends. Novels about those intense topics are needed and always appreciated, but there's something about Violet's story that pulls you in, even without those shocking twists and gutwrenching material.

MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is a funny, relateable first novel and I can't wait for more from this talented author!
Profile Image for Nina.
430 reviews76 followers
February 18, 2012
I won Mostly Good Girls from Erica at The Book Cellar, and since she had rated it 5 stars and said it's one of her favorites I was very excited to read it. And even if Mostly Good Girls didn't make it all the way up to 5 stars for me, it was still an incredibly funny, cute and easy read, and I really enjoyed it.

This book is very character driven. Violet is such a great lead; just a normal teenage girl with normal teenage problems, but with a fun attitude that makes her an interesting narrator. She's obsessing about her crush (and his new girlfriend), about how to improve the school's literary magazine, about making money, and about her best friend Katie and the changes she's been going through lately.

I loved all the fun trouble Violet and Katie got into at school (selling Harry Potter tours of the school to the younger kids? Genius!), the underlying problems both of them were dealing with, and I really got to see why their friendship was such a strong one. There were times when I thought Violet was blind for not understanding Katie better, but it is easy to get so focused on your own problems that you forget other people can have them too. And friends might fight, but that's totally okay as long as you remember why you became friends in the first place.

If you're looking for a quick, fun read, a book that doesn't take itself too seriously, then Mostly Good Girls is the book for you. And now I really just need to get around to reading Leila Sales' other book, Past Perfect.
Profile Image for Lori.
541 reviews320 followers
December 18, 2010

After I read all the reviews on this talking about how hilarious it is I knew I had to read it! The hilariousness did not disappoint! I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so many times while reading a book. I really just all around loved this book and I would have read 100 more pages of it.

I loved the way that this book was written. The chapters were super short and there was no pointless scenes. Everything in the book either shined light on the conflict or developed the characters more. There was no endless back stories or any slow pacing at all. This is a read in one sitting book because you won't be able to put it down.

Mostly Good Girls is also a completely different take on the high school drama. Violet and Katie go to a small all girls prep school. They hardly have any interactions with boys and when they do they are completely hopeless at it. They are trying to learn how to become cool, which I think we can all relate to. Even if you went to a public school we all went through a crisis of cool at one point in our lives, I'm sure.

This book also touches on the subtle things that come between friends. It seems like most YA's always talk about some huge situation that drives a wedge between people, but that's not always the case. Sometimes its just little things that add up.

I highly recommend this book. Its a quick read and Violet and Katie's antics and banter will have you laughing the entire time!
Profile Image for Lisa M..
26 reviews2 followers
June 5, 2010
(This review is for an ARC)

Sixteen-year-old Violet Tunis is doing her best to juggle the academic, social and extracurricular stresses of her junior year at an elite prep school. Between snagging the attention of the boy she's been in love with for years and fighting to save the disintegrating friendship with her best friend, Violet's got her hands full.

Mostly Good Girls is a strong debut novel from Leila Sales. Violet and her best friend Katie are self-aware and funny, able to laugh at themselves and the high-pressure academic bubble in which they find themselves. Violet fights for every thing and never quite gets it right, while Katie achieves effortlessly and doesn't want any of it.

The book really focuses on that brief period in time when your little girl stops being your little girl and starts trying to make her own mistakes - just because she can. As the mother of a former girl-in-transition, I found it charming and a painless way to relive those days.

Great YA novel that I would feel comfortable recommending for the tween crowd.
Profile Image for Lenore Appelhans.
Author 8 books685 followers
October 24, 2014
Instead of a regular review, a fan letter:

Dear Leila,

Thanks for writing a book that all of us mostly good girls can relate to. Not everyone is an outcast or a mean girl or a wallflower who falls in love with a vampire/werewolf/fairy/demon. Most of us are more like Violet – someone who makes mistakes sometimes but means well.

I loved the vignette style of the story, and how all these funny scenes at a girl’s prep school and Violet’s wry observations were woven together to form a larger tale of the ups and downs of friendship as well as the overemphasis on achievement in today’s society. Most of all I loved the six paragraphs that make up the chapter “The precious Jewells” which have to be the most hilarious paragraphs I’ve read all year.

Keep writing and I’ll keep reading,
Profile Image for Rukhsar (rukhsandbooks).
438 reviews11 followers
January 14, 2016
To be honest, the whole time I was reading this I was like "I can't wait for this to be over". I only finished it because I'm one of those people that must finish a book once she has started it. Nonetheless, finishing the book did cause my rating of it to increase. At first I was going to give it a 1, but the end had a few interesting points, it talked about success, sexuality, and essentially hope, something i think the current generation needs to discuss more. I obviously think these themes could have been better illustrated throughout the novel.

Basically, yay! I'm done reading it. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to a young adult, or an adult. It's more of those, I found this and had nothing better to read. So if you find this and have nothing better to read, then sure read it, but I wouldn't necessarily mark it as to-read book.
Profile Image for Sarah Sullivan.
899 reviews19 followers
December 27, 2010
Ok, first of all, let me say that Mostly Good Girls is done a TREMENDOUS disservice by its cover and title. Seriously. This is the most egregious cover art injustice I've seen since Sarah Dessen. The cover/title make it seem like a Gossip Girl knockoff, even though that couldn't be further from the truth. So maybe you don't want to read this book on a train, or while you're waiting for your blind date to show up but YOU DO WANT TO READ IT. Trust me. I basically want to be best friends with Violet. She's awesome and hilarious. The one-liners throughout this book had me laughing out loud nonstop. Plus, it's really great to read a YA book that is not about any Very Serious Issues but is also totally not boring!
21 reviews8 followers
June 4, 2010
My best friend wrote this book, so I got to read an advanced copy. It's wonderful, funny, touching, insightful, and I'm one of the main characters--so you should all rush to pick it up when it comes out!
1 review
October 28, 2018
The contemporary young adult book Mostly Good Girls, by Leila Sales, is the story of two best friends with changing morals. Violet has dreams of acing her SATs and going to an Ivy League college. However, her friend Katie doesn’t seem to be very focused on the same things as Violet. At their prestigious Boston private school, the Westfield School, everyone has to be the best. One girl has taken the SATs every year since age thirteen, GPAs are hidden from the students because they are so competitive, and of course at least one girl per graduating class has an eating disorder. Violet and Katie do not consider themselves to be popular or cool in any way. They’ve liked the same boy for years, and their focus is always academia. But all this changes when Katie starts dating a boy who Violet disapproves of and Katie starts making choices that shock her best friend. Violet becomes increasingly more nervous that things are going very wrong with Katie and has no idea how to fix them. So when Katie suggests that she and Violet write a story for the school newspaper- anonymously, of course- Violet jumps at the opportunity to make things “normal” again and uses her position as editor of the literary magazine to sneak the story in. However, things quickly go awry, and the girls’ friendship is soon put to the test as their beliefs and ideas are pitted against their desire to be “good” girls.
I think that this book was well-written. It portrayed the voice of an insecure, over-stressed junior in high school fairly accurately. Violet described the day the class received their PSAT scores as “...probably the longest morning of my life” (41), demonstrating the stress placed on her as well as illustrating an example of typical high school hyperbole. However, I thought that the book was unnecessarily dramatic in some cases. For example, Katie and Violet plan to go get drunk for no apparent reason, and they plan weeks in advance. This does not seem very realistic to me. Several of the characters seem very over the top in certain cases as well. One character, called Pearl, didn’t want to do her homework, so she handed in her older sister’s work from a few years before. Unfortunately for her, Pearl’s sister had written about The Catcher in the Rye and Pearl was supposed to have written about Frankenstein. Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was unique, but some of the events depicted were rather unrealistic.
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