My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have so many good things to say about Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer. Goodreads does not allow half-star ratings, but this book deserves a 4.5.
Summary: Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. After all, real life will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. But when an unexpected event proves they’re missing out on the full high-school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. The trio makes a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge and totally rock it.
Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed; it could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now. These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that might mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for…
I thought this book would be about a smart girl with an identity crisis. You know the one – she realizes she has no social life, that being book smart isn’t everything, and so she goes in the opposite direction and plays “bad girl” only to realize she needs to stay true to herself. But despite my doubts about this book, I decided to give it a try anyway.
What I found was a believable, realistic narrator and a feel-good, original plotline about high school teenagers. To be completely honest, I didn’t find the book to be cliché at all. It’s about a tight-knit group of girls who realize what it means to mature. They push themselves to try new things and to challenge themselves in ways they hadn’t before, without abandoning their goals or values.
And even more surprising (and completely refreshing!), author Sarah Strohmeyer did not stereotype high school students. The “popular girls” aren’t catty or mean. The “jock” isn’t dumb. And everyone has a backstory – their behaviors are a result of their backgrounds / upbringing / values. Which is how it should be, is it not?
I didn’t even find the book to be predictable. (Major points for that!)
It was funny, and emotional, and moving. It completely captured the ups and downs of teenage relationships (friendships/romances) and high school life without painting it as unrealistically horrible.
Thank you, thank you Sarah Strohmeyer for Smart Girls Get What They Want. Finally, an every-day female protagonist to look up to!