June 9, 2015
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Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can't help but stab you in it.
Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they're the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them--and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band--without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved--literally, figuratively, physically....she's not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever....or tears them apart for good?
Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart.
I almost stopped reading Those Girls after the first three chapters. Seriously,from the beginning the characters are offensive, mean, kind of irritating and completely not 'friendly' to each other. From the jokes about how slutty they are and about abortions, all of the smoking (pot, cigarettes) and drinking, it didn't seem like a book for me.
Yet, something about Saft's writing and that promise of 'a healthy dose of heart,' kept me reading.
The characters don't get better - they still call each other slutty, whores and so much more, while seemingly meaning it - but we do get more of their lives and their relationships. The majority of which are just as messed up as Alex, Mollie and Veronica.
This is probably the first book where I happen to agree with this (spoilery) one star review and probably most of the others, but I still didn't hate it?
The characters have nearly no redeeming qualities (at least that we see in the novel). Veronica was probably the one I liked best, though I really couldn't stand Alex or Mollie (especially) so . . . If her character had been in a different story, I think I could have liked her a lot. She obviously has some basis for being so screwed up, we get some fleeting glimpses of not horrible Veronica . . . before she goes back to being regular Veronica. (And I still think this.)
These three seem to legitimately think of each other as friends, but they're either absolutely not or are the worst example of it, ever. They also go beyond frenemies into actually enemies, I think.
The ending does fit with the characters but it was not what I wanted it to be (namely something quite different).
So, while hate/pity/maybe a little bit fear all of those girls and want to run them (and the book) through a PG-13 and/or psychological counseling filter, I'm not sorry I read the book. I really hope this isn't what's going on in the minds of many (any!) teenage girls and if it is, I don't want to know them. I do, however, hope that it's not what's going on in Lauren Saft's mind because I would like to read something else - something else vastly different than this - from her.
arc received from The Novl newsletter