BITCHES!! HEY!! BITCHES!! OVER HERE!!
don’t read anything else until you read this book. you can even stop reading this review, i don’t care, as long as you read this book. well, the book comes out tomorrow, so you might as well finish reading this review after all.
when caris reviewed this book ages ago, i knew it was going to be a book to read. and then time passed, and its details got blurry, but i remembered i wanted to read it. and when i saw it was coming out on the 24th of may, i thought “oh, drat! i will not be able to read that because the world is ending and all” and then – and then i saw it at my library right before the world was scheduled to end and the crisis was averted.
and then the world didn’t end after all, but i got the consolation prize of getting to read this book and it is so much better than being raptured.
i thought this was going to be like a beauty queen version of a battle royale fight to the death on an island. it isn’t. it is something far more lasting and necessary and it makes me a little embarrassed that i ever wanted to read about hot teenage girls killing each other. mea culpa, i have been accustomed to a certain kind of literature.
but this is all about girls. girls who have been brainwashed and convinced that the only way to achieve success is to live within the shelter of a very small world like a baby veal and to maintain a very small carefully cultivated personality and to be pretty and recite what the judges wanna hear. and the girls have all bought into this line for different reasons: for money, for parental approval, to feel loved. but on the island – these things change.
and shit gets real.
as it simultaneously gets unreal with some over-the-top situations that are fun and campy and sometimes silly, but really enjoyable. she makes some really smart writerly choices that make her book both real-feeling (in parts, obvs) and emotionally complicated.
this ends up being a good companion piece to black swan
these are spoilers for black swan:View Spoiler »because my reading of the movie is less like “this is what happens when you overwork yourself into exhaustion in your quest to be the best, and the bad dark impulses get in” and more like “this is what happens when you are told that in order to be acceptable, you have to go against all your natural inclinations and you end up a triumphant bloody corpse because grrrrl power and abdominal bleeds make you succeed, but to subsume your own personality is, ultimately, death. « Hide Spoiler
it’s not a perfect book – there are plenty of interruptions that i could have done without – some of the satire is a little heavy handed, but it is such an important book, i think, for any teenage girl. so many teen books are about bitchy girls backstabbing each other or girls who are in the shadow of their undeserving boyfriends or girls who have feelings that they fight against in order to fit in. this kind of does what all those books try to do all at once. she provides a spectrum of girls here, and her ambition is tremendous. and her acknowledgments pages are impressive. she set out to do something, she bothered to learn some stuff, and she wrote a great book, so much so that i picked up another of her books yesterday, and i’m going to buy this book tomorrow and return my copy to the library like a responsible citizen.
girls?? get on this.