Review: Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Those Girls

Those Girls

Lauren Saft
Goodreads Synopsis:

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.

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’ll start of by saying that I read this book in one go. This was mostly because it was captivating in the same way that a horrible car-accident is. That’s not to say that there isn’t a redeeming quality about this book, because there is: the writing. But good writing alone is not enough to save this book from itself, the flat characters and the hollow story.
The three main characters in this book are supposed best friends, but along the way I just kept on wondering why they even bother calling each other friends and how they ever thought that they should call each other that. Throughout the entire book they seemed to have to force any contact between them. If it had been in the light of “drifting apart because of puberty” that would have been okay, I could have enjoyed that. But even in the flashbacks to the earlier days, they just didn’t really seem to be friends, let alone best friend material. They are continually very mean to each other and they seem to need a lot of alcohol to showcase any honesty. These girls are as mean to their best friends as I wouldn’t even dream of being to people I actually dislike. There’s alos a couple of boys that play a somewhat bigger role in this book but they left me wanting for more depth. There’s the jerk, who is very one-dimensional. There is the sort of boyfriend, who is never given enough attention for us to really care about. And there is the “nice” guy who still says some not okay things but is the only one that makes a rational decision by the end of the book. None of the characters seemed like real people, and I’m not saying that because I disliked pretty much all of them. I’m not saying that teenagers can’t be interested in what these kids are interested in. Nor am I saying that real people can’t be this mean to each other. But there just doesn’t seem to be anything more to these people. We don’t find out what drives them to this meanness, we don’t see how they ever had good days as friends. Everyone seems like a hollow shell of stereotypes, of what teenagers these days are expected to be by some people.
Throughout the story there is so much deceit, lying and just general dishonesty going on that it felt hard to connect with these characters. That along with the fact that the focus of this book was mostly on sex, drugs and alcohol made this book feel like a watered down version of a book that could be something. These girls are horrible to each other, they lie and they cheat. But if there had been some honesty or just a realisation about how their behavior is just really awful, it might have given the story a bit more body. As it is, there isn’t a whole lot of story throughout this book. In the end there is an event that could have led to some more meaningful conversations between these girls. Or at least a small revelation here or there, because that event is pretty gruesome in what it could have entailed. Instead they pretend like nothing really happened and there doesn’t seem to be a need for these best friends to talk about this crisis.
As you can see I was not impressed by this book, though the writing really was pretty strong. I guess it just wasn’t enough to really make me like this book. There were just too many flaws here, and it’s really a shame because there was potential in this story. I’m not saying that every book should be some kind of morality lesson, or convey this huge message. This novel just lacked direction and real characters.

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