readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seattle Host Review: Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Welcome our Seattle Host, Stephanie Guerra! She teaches children’s literature, young adult fiction and a seminar in writing instruction at Seattle University. She also heads a volunteer creative writing program at King County Jail, and researches and speaks about literacy instruction for at-risk and incarcerated young adults. Stephanie lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and children. Her debut young adult novel, TORN, will be published by Marshall Cavendish in spring of 2012.

Stay tuned for Stephanie's reports of Seattle book events! Today, she shares a book review of Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales:

"Leila Sales’ Mostly Good Girls is both deep and delightfully fun; puff pastry that’s actually good for you. It takes on the hypocrisies of the New York prep-school world with humor and affection, and inspires provocative questions about class and identity.

"The book opens during Violet’s junior year in Westfield, an all-girls private school with an ivy-covered campus and tuition the size of a normal person’s paycheck. Violet comes from a middle-class family, and her parents have to stretch to manage school costs, but they’re determined to give Violet the best possible education.

"Westfield is viciously competitive, and Violet always feels a few steps behind the other girls, with their money and social grease. It doesn’t help that Violet’s best friend, Katie, is from one of the wealthiest families at Westfield—and effortlessly brilliant at everything she does.

"With college applications on the horizon, Violet begins to resent working so hard for things that come easily to Katie, especially grades. Violet labors over PSAT study guides, and her score is just mediocre. But Katie aces the PSAT without even trying—more evidence of her charmed life.

"As if Katie is contemptuous of her advantages, she starts blowing off school. Then she drops crew, though it guarantees her admission to any college. Next, she hooks up with a sleazy stoner. Katie’s rebellion feels like a slap in the face to Violet, who would never dream of throwing away such advantages. It’s the beginning of a rift in a friendship that has been rock-solid for years, despite class differences.

"But Violet has the integrity to fight her own resentment and envy, and look past Katie’s crazy behavior to the friend she still loves. Why is Katie rebelling? How perfect is her life, really? And how far is Violet willing to go to stick by her friend?

"Mostly Good Girls illuminates the friendship and loyalty possible between girls. Sales’ prose is swift-moving and dryly funny, and her characters have depth and heart. Violet is her crowning achievement: intelligent, snarky, wry, and slightly naïve, but radiating courage and commitment." --SG

Read the story behind the cover of Mostly Good Girls (those are a publishing house employee's legs!).


Lorie Ann Grover said...

Sounds perfect for rgz! Thanks!

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