Book Review: Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Those Girls by Lauren Saft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Poppy

Summary:   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 can't say that I really enjoyed this but I did find it compelling and worthy. It made me uncomfortable and the characters put me off fairly early on but I usually take that to mean that I need to stay and continue because for whatever reasons I'm feeling that way, there's likely a good reason the author's gone down this path and I want to know what that is. Saft definitely had a way of making her characters ones that truly had no knowledge of their personal self worth but also had an over-inflated sense of self and I found that to be rather well done. To be able to constantly debase oneself yet still be piqued one doesn't command respect and awe from others is a feat to be sure and that shone through in Mollie, Alex and Veronica in varying degrees. I found very little redeeming in any of them by book's end, with the slight exception of Veronica. I found it sad and also true that the boys the girls chased and ultimately treated each other badly over were not only not worth it but also loomed so large in the girls minds that the girls themselves were totally eclipsed in their own minds. They were almost incapable of seeing anything outside of the prism of whatever boy they had their sights trained on. I cheered when they had glimmers of that realisation no matter how fleeting.

I think this is supposed to be a YA book but I can also see how it could be simply Contemporary featuring teens. It's a blistering look in and I definitely feel that the author took the bold way as there aren't real lessons learnt & hard consequences for the behaviors engaged in. I found that refreshing because sometimes, life is just like that and the tidy bow at the end isn't that people became benevolent and kind, they just kept on going and those events are simply in the past. That felt true & I applaud Saft on that one. Appalling, disturbing, engaging and thoroughly readable, Those Girls was time well spent but I was glad when it was over. I definitely will look for more books in the future from this author.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Coming July 2015

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