My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, College, Antihero, Romance
I’m your protagonist—Reshma Kapoor—and if you have the free time to read this book, then you’re probably nothing like me.
Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.
What’s a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent’s help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she’ll finally have the key to Stanford.
Well, ladies and gents, I present to you the antihero of the year: Reshma Kapoor!
Let me hear some applause! She may not be likeable exactly, let alone loveable, for that girl is so motivated and driven by the idea of one day stepping foot into Stanford as a full-time student there that she doesn’t let anything nor anyone destroy her dream. But she sure is something.
And I mean it. She really doesn’t accept for anything to go wrong. If something does, she spends entire nights trying to fix it. And if someone wrongs her in any way or doesn’t do as she is expected to in Reshma’s opinion, she quickly plans their downfall!
I must say I liked this book. Well, firstly, do know that it’s not realistic. What happens in this book didn’t shock me or anger me to the point of throwing it out of the window, because it reads like a comedy and not a serious novel.
And because of that, I shifted my expectations. The only thing I really wanted from this book was to entertain me. Secondly, life, college, success or the idea of it can drive someone crazy, and therefore, Reshma appeared to me like a hyperbole of what can happen to someone who has a goal they’ll do anything to achieve and face obstacle along the way.
Hear me out. What I mean by that is that we all sometimes want to do crazy, illegal maybe, things to get ahead or to help us get what we want. We all, at one point, want to scream after a teacher or sue them for something they’ve done that we don’t agree with. The only difference between us and Reshma is that she actually has the stupid but impressive guts to do whatever she thinks needs to be done to have a good life.
I didn’t love her, which was to be expected, since she is pretty cray-cray. Fearless and original, but definitely the kind of person who needs to be shipped to some foreign island that will only allow her to RELAX. Nothing else.
But not everything is enjoyable about this book. While for the most part it’s captivating and so crazy it’s fun, it becomes ridiculous towards the end. I knew, at some point, that Reshma was capable of everything, but I also thought she was bright. But the truth is, intelligent people wouldn’t do the things she does, because that’s not the way to go.
Which put in perspective the ending. I’m pretty satisfied with it, although it was completely unexpected and a twisted part of me would have accepted things to go differently, too.
The love-triangle was completely unnecessary, however necessary Reshma makes it look. The whole ‘‘I’m writing a book to get into Stanford’’ plot element wasn’t that well-done. In fact, it felt forced. She also didn’t need the check-list. She could have written about something else. Hell, a fictional story would have done it.
But it’s original and surprising, if that’s what you’re looking for.
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