Good Girls by Laura Ruby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I guess it's kind of a theme in YA books that a super smart, high achieving girl who has an intense need for control might sometimes fall for a guy who is either out of her league, or moves in a different social circle (he's a player, The Duff, he's a jock, Not That Kind of Girl, he's too old and taking advantage of her, Story of a Girl also the Duff, or a stoner, At the Party). They have a "relationship" that mostly consists of secret hook-ups, in order to assuage her anxiety about various issues revolving around parents, school, or self-esteem. The reason this works for her is because when they are kissing (or whatev) she is so caught up that she escapes her overthinking, overanalyzing mind for a while, and just feels the moment. Far be it from me to question whether this works in real life (or happens), because there must be something elemental and powerful about this idea in order for it to be so prevalent and popular.
So, obvs, this book is in that genre, and it's a good one. The MC is more mixed up than troubled, and seems to just find it unbelievable that the boy could actually like her beyond wanting to hook up, so she breaks off the limited, secretive relationship they do have, without explanation, without thinking about him or his feelings (or that boys even have such things!). So when that sexy times photo someone surreptiously snapped of the two of them makes the rounds at school, it's maybe even more humiliating, more overwhelming than might otherwise be the case, although, it's hard to imagine how it could be moreso, honestly. I found Audrey likeable, believable, and possessed of a quirky, fresh and appealing voice and point of view. The whole issue with her Dad, and how the picture impacts their relationship was maybe the most affecting part of the book for me (cause I'm a Dad maybe?), and the resolution of that element is one of the more touching parts (again, maybe just me). This was the part that was the most like Story of Girl, another great book, btw, if you haven't read it. How Audrey deals with the aftermath of the overexposure, and becomes a more open, forgiving, understanding and less crazy person, makes for a good story, with good supporting characters and, for a change, fairly believable parents.
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