Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
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?
Alright, before I get going here, it’s confession time: Leila Sales is totally my new best friend. My Author MFEO. My pal. I mean, she doesn’t know this, but she totally is. Truthfully, I don’t know her, but I
stalk read her blog and girlfriend is hilarious. Seriously, she is so funny. And I love people who are funny in what seems like an effortless way, so clearly I loved this book. Loved. It.
Mostly Good Girls is the story of Violet and Katie. They are best friends (like me and Leila Sales? Sadly, no. They actually know each other) who are juniors at the Westfield School, which is an elite, all-girls school for the more academically inclined. The girls there are not only bright, they’re driven and highly competitive. Neither Violet nor Katie has much experience in the realm of boys but they are desperately in love with Scott Walsh from Harper Woodbane, Westfield’s brother school. Between Violet’s love for Scott, her obsessive need to have straight A’s and her job as the editor of the school’s literary magazine, she has alot on her plate. She finds comfort in her friendship with Katie—the one person who knows everything about her and likes her anyway.
Violet begins to see changes in Katie. First, she lies about getting a perfect score on her PSATs (yes, her pre SATs. Even those are a huge deal at Westfield)—choosing to hide the victory that most students there would flaunt. Then she starts showing antipathy toward Westfield, its students and their ivy-league aspirations. She starts liking boys that aren’t your run of the mill perfect Adonis Harper Woodbane type and more of the slacker/stoner variety. To make matters worse, Scott Walsh has a girlfriend, meaning he is not going to fall headoverheelsinlove withViolet forever and ever!! Gasp!
Mostly Good Girls is simply about knowing who you are and what you want. Further, it explores the idea of the expectations we tend to put not only on ourselves but on those we love. The world in which Violet and Katie live is full of high ideals and lofty goals—many placed on them by themselves, their school headmistress, and their families (in Katie’s case, at least)—but as much pressure as that can be, it’s worse when these expectations come from your best friend. On the other hand, Violet has to adapt to being friends with Katie when she feels she hardly recognizes her and when she’s worried about who she is becoming.
I felt that the relationship between Violet and Katie was so perfectly written. The conversations about boys, school and life felt real and took me back to my own high school days (and to some convos Vee and I still have). I related to Violet in her need to do things just right so as not to disappoint anyone, including herself. I felt her concern for Katie, having been the goody-two shoes in my circle of friends who had to watch a friend make decisions that seemed so out of character for her and not knowing how be a friend without being judgemental. As I was reading this book I kept thinking, “Oh Violet, I have soooooo been there!”
This is not a story with major plot twists and turns. It’s simple. It’s made by the great dialogue and Violet’s funny inner monologue and in the end, it’s fun to watch how each of these girls grow and change.
Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 Definitely looking forward to more from this author. This book is so funny. Read it!
Mr. Thompson had not been paying attention. That’s what we got for choosing a math teacher to advise our literary magazine. Actually, that had been the intention: We had all agreed that an advisor from the English department would interfere too much, would look at our LitMag meetings as opportunity to rehash her graduate thesis with us helpless teenagers. Mr. Thompson’s graduate thesis was on fractals, so there was no danger there. Plus, he was a guy, so we wanted him there for eye candy. Well, given his smiley-face tattoo and bright white high-tops, maybe not eyes candy. Maybe something less delicious than candy, but still edible. Eye banana.
And one more…
“Don’t see what you need such a great education for.” Uncle Rick chuckled. He is very self-amused. “You father’s got eight years more education than me, and what’d it get him? Nothing much.”
That did it. My parents lost it. It’s one thing for my aunt and uncle to criticize their car or their cooking or even their daughter, but to criticize the world of academia? Unacceptable. Like, step off, Uncle Rick.