Mostly Good Girls

Leila Sales, Author
Leila Sales, Simon Pulse, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0679-7
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
Sixteen-year-old Violet and her best friend, Katie, do everything together. They attend an all-girls prep school in the Boston area, and while their home lives differ slightly (Violet's parents are more supportive and less affluent), their shared concerns are typical: crushing on the same guy, worrying about PSAT scores and getting into an Ivy League college, and juggling afterschool activities. Success seems to come easily for Katie, while Violet is a workaholic, but both girls are deeply stressed by academic pressures. When Katie begins acting out (suggesting they get drunk, stealing Ritalin, dating a burnout), Violet's world is turned upside down. While debut author Sales conveys the dynamics of the girls' friendship with honesty and a light touch, her meandering vignette-style narrative doesn't gain focus until the second half of the book, when Katie's self-destructive streak emerges and Violet's insecure, competitive character gains more likeable dimensions. Katie emerges as the more compelling individual; readers will likely understand her decision to leave the shelter of her privileged private school world to seek more diverse life experiences. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
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