Monday, June 25, 2012

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Smart Girls Get What They Want
Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Released: June 26, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Source: Sasha
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 always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show that smart girls get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for...
Can I just say how much I lovelovelove feel-good contemporaries that are more than just fluff? Smart Girls Get What They Want is about exactly what the title implies. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are smart girls. They may not have overflowing social calendars or afternoons filled with extracurriculars, but who cares? They're totally going to Harvard/Princeton/Dartmouth and will have plenty of time for that later. Except when they find Neerja's sister's empty yearbook, they panic. What if by only worrying about life after high school they are missing out on some of life's greatest experiences? The three girls decide right then and there to make the most of high school, and not just in the academic sense. After all, they are smart girls. Who says they can't have everything they want?

One of the things I liked most about this novel was the meaningfulness of it. The girls didn't just want to let loose and party. They each faced some major obstacles and took on their fears. Of course they had a lot of fun on the way, but I really appreciated the way they remained themselves but became better versions. I loved that there was such a positive message throughout the story without it feeling preachy or condescending. I also loved the confidence these girls had in themselves, and in each other, and their attractiveness. Too often the smart girls are the mousy-haired, glasses-wearing loners. It was very refreshing to see three beautiful girls rocking the books who weren't constantly moaning about their insecurities.

There was a small love triangle, but it did not provoke one single eye roll from me. Both boys were not without merit (at least in the beginning), and I could see it going either way. Of course, as the story progressed things were more clear, and I was very happy with the outcome. I really appreciated the poetry-loving jock and may have even swooned a time or two.

Smart Girls was a smartly written, humorous contemporary I wish was around when I was in high school. Then maybe I could have been more like Gigi, Bea, and Neerja. Sarah Strohmeyer did a fantastic job of erasing stereotypes and giving value to being a smart girl.

FTC: I was gifted with an ARC of this novel, which was picked up at ALA Midwinter. Sash for the win!

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