My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: June 16th 2015
Point of View: 1st Person, Feminine & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Vengeance, High School, Love, Friendship
In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.
Don’t get mad, get even!
In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.
Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.
Four high school girls surreptitiously build up a plan to bring their whole school Varsity team down. Starting as a set of dares they attempt to complete, their strategy slowly develops into something more and deeper. Along the way, friendships are created and destroyed, hearts are lost and found and secrets are revealed.
At first glance, you might think this book to be a fun and light story – one that’s worth reading with an ice cream in your hands – but there’s more to it than meets the eye. There’s more to Liv, Peyton, Ana and Melanie than meets the eye. Together, they bring us on an exciting and full of girl power adventure. Seeing four girls with completely diverse personalities stand up for one another and help each other out is what won me over. I love sisterhoods. I love true friendship and seeing genuine trust between friends.
In term of girl power, friendship and sparkling revenge plot, this book rocked. Where I can praise it is in the romance and pacing of the story altogether. Two of the girls had boyfriends before starting this retributive plot, boyfriends who dumped them because of stupid reasons… because they were obliged to. Then, as the girls act on their secret mission, them girls who were dumped (+ another one from the squad) meet new guys. It felt so forced… like was it necessary to throw in a humongous doze of dates and flirting. It just felt so incongruous to the main goal. We just didn’t need it and it broke the we’re-about-to-change-the-world atmosphere. Plus it screamed, ‘‘we can’t live without boys.’’
At random times in the story, we’re thrown back in time to before the regroupment happens. Those scenes help up understand where the girls’ motivation to destroy the football theme comes from. I think, while they certainly were pertinent, Ana’s ‘‘story’’ took time – too much of it – to unfold. Many short glimpses but never the whole truth. I understand why the author did this (we were after all supposed to learn what happened when Ana was ready to rewind the awful memory to herself) but I got impatient since there’s no surprise or twist, you can guess what truly happened from the beginning. Maybe the sneak peeks were not that necessary.
This book made me think of the movie John Tucker Must Die which I consider as a huge contemporary movie classic (everybody must see it). I’ve watched it a great couple of times, since it never gets old, and, like this book, there’s four girls who are brought together by unfortunate events and undertake to do everything possible to take their revenge on someone who hurt them all. What does that mean? Well, first, reading this book was close to watching a teen movie and, second, it could definitely be made into one. Are you hearing that, screenwriters and producers – Hollywood?
One more thing: the ending disappointed me, but the author seriously keeps everything realistic, from start to finish, and maybe that’s where it bugged me. I like happy ever afters. I like when the guy gets the girl, when the dog is sick but miraculously cured, when the couple looks into each others’ eyes and both drop the divorce papers on the floor, name it. I’m not saying it ends badly at all, but it doesn’t end the way I was hoping for it to. That’s all.
Still, a book very much worth reading.