Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

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. They know their “real” lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents) But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge–and they will 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 could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . .

(Description from Goodreads)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

While it seems that the main focus of YA stories these days revolves around the paranormal, it’s refreshing to see a book that is entirely about typical high school happenings.

This book really pulled me in, even just after the first few pages. I started reading it Friday (mid-day) and I finished it Saturday (evening). I rarely get through books that quickly these days (thanks to grad school) but this was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down (leading me to procrastinate on my homework…oops!)

Like the description provided by Goodreads says, the story revolves around three best friends, Gigi, Bea, and Neerja. The story is told from the perspective of Gigi, so the reader is involved more in her story than in the other two (though that doesn’t mean the reader is exposed to the happenings in their lives as well.) The three friends are very smart, yet they are practically nobodies to the rest of the school. However, after an incident that lands Gigi in the principal’s office, the three girls vow that it is possible to be smart AND well-known.

At first, I wasn’t so sure about this book. However, it managed to win me over after it kept mentioning Romeo and Juliet (the play I taught during my student teaching) and how Jane Eyre was an amazing book (which it is!) Once I really got into the story and the characters, I was sucked in completely. I should probably start placing tags within the books I review, in order to help me remember where certain quotes were said. Alas, I didn’t think of that this time around, but there was something said by one of the three friends early on in the book about how even though they were the smartest ones in 10th grade, they were still at the bottom of the high school social chain. One of them remarked that shouldn’t it be the opposite of what it was? Shouldn’t the smartest students be at the TOP? I thought that was rather interesting to bring up, as it is a school setting and all.

I really enjoyed the characters (at least, most of them.) I really enjoyed getting to know the three best friends, especially Gigi. By looking at the cover and the description of Gigi, I’m guessing the girl is supposed to resemble her; this helped me picture her the best in my mind. I also really enjoyed understanding Bea and Neerja, though not as much is known about them, considering Gigi is the one telling the story. I absolutely LOVED Mike though, the guy who started it all. At first, I thought he was just a dumb jock that was there to mess up Gigi’s life, but he stuck around and really changed my opinion of him. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for these good guys that always wind up being in a YA novel. There were two other characters that were well developed, but I just couldn’t stand; they were Will and Ava. I know they were meant to be the antagonists, and I suppose they did just that…I really couldn’t stand them. Bleh!

The description in this book was outstanding. I’ve never been up to the Boston area before, but the wonderful descriptions about the setting made an image in my mind so vivid I could swear I had been there before. Plus, fall is my favorite season (which this book takes place during) so whenever the mention of baking cookies, the smell of fallen leaves, and the chill that requires a hoodie to be on was mentioned, it made me really want fall to hurry up and get here.

Other than not really getting to understand Bea and Neerja as much as Gigi, there was one thing that somewhat bothered me and kept this book from receiving a 5 out of 5 stars from me. I don’t think this was the intention of the author, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a message about how one has to be popular (or at least well-known and liked) in order to enjoy your high school experience. I honestly don’t believe that’s where the author was going with this book, considering the girls never tried to dumb themselves down for a boy or for friends, but I kept feeling like it made it seem like you HAD to be well-known in order to enjoy your time in high school. Sure it’s a great perk, but it’s not everything; if you have your friends and you are happy, then you shouldn’t have to make sure the whole school knows you in order to enjoy high school (especially if you’re just in 10th grade like the girls in this book.) Again, I’m probably over-thinking this, but it kinda bugged me.

I’m very glad I decided to order this book after glancing at it in Barnes & Noble (strangely, I didn’t buy it while I was in the store…mostly because I had forgotten to print out a coupon I had for there, so I decided to order it once I got home.) I would definitely recommend this book, as the story and the characters are easy to relate to; though some fluff is present, the idea within the story is a great one.

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