Sunday, August 9, 2015

DNF Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Published March 26, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Paperback, 348 pages
Borrowed from library

So... what's it about?
Smart Girls Get What They Want centers around three really smart girls - Gigi, Bea and Neerja - and yeah, that's about all I know as I didn't finish the book and the few pages I read didn't really offer me any insight into what the plot is...

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
"Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. After all, real life will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. But when an unexpected event proves they're missing out on the full high-school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. The trio makes a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge and totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed; it could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that might mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . ."

What initially attracted you to it?
For the summer, I always like to stock up on fun YA contemporaries. It just never feels like summer unless I have a stack of contemporaries to get through. So I was looking around on some blogs for good contemporaries and saw that this one in particular got a lot of love. I have to be honest that after reading the synopsis on Goodreads, it didn't really sound like a book I'd typically be interested in but there were so many great reviews for it that I thought, why not give it a shot?

How far did you read until you decided it was over?
I think I gave it a fair shot. My Kobo tells me I stopped at the 35% mark, meaning that I read 85 pages out of the total 234 there were.

Why'd you put it down?
I don't know... There were a lot of things that just weren't working for me. I really did want to get through this but by the time I reached the 60 page mark and realized I had 180 more pages to go , I just couldn't do it. Even though there were all these five star and four star reviews floating around in my head telling me to continue. 

The narration wasn't working for me. I'm kinda picky about my writing. Some types work for me, some don't. And this one didn't. I just couldn't settle down with Gigi's narration. It was supposed to be a little quirky and charming and funny but it didn't work for me. Maybe it was also because the book took so DAMN long to get started, like I stopped at the 35% mark and it was only THEN that it was revealed to me, as per the synopsis, that Gigi, Bea and Neerja wrere trying out for all these things. So the fact that it started off so slowly probably just made me even less crazy about the writing. Because when a book is exciting, I find that I'm a little more tolerant with the writing. Like even if it's not really my taste, I'm able to forgive a lot of it because the story's pulling me in. But with this book, the story just took SO LONG to get started that it only highlighted the fact I didn't like the writing even more.

A lot of why I stopped reading this book was my indifference. I was indifferent to Gigi and Bea and Neerja and all the characters. I just did not care at all. Like not to be mean but I found all the characters to be super bland and one-dimensional. And also I don't know... it felt very juvenile for me. And this is something that I have trouble with now that I'm actually of the same age of many YA characters. Gigi and her friends are in sophomore year. I just finished my sophomore year and still, I didn't feel I could entirely connect to Gigi or anyone's voice, for that matter. Like I don't know, some of the things they were talking about and that they did was just super bizarre for me. In fact, this entire book was really bizarre. I just didn't get it? 

And then there's the whole nerds vs popular kids thing that really bugged me. Granted, I haven't read the book and the things I'm gathering from other reviews, it seems like this is something that gets kinda solved or isn't really an issue? But it was something that majorly annoyed me in the 80 pages I read. One of the things I hate in books and in shows is when there's a clear divide between the nerds / braniacs and the popular kids. And how the popular kids are all brainless and dumb (although with Mike, this book kinda disputes that so that's good) and horrible and mean. And I hate that! Again, this is something that's only recently started to affect me as I've been in high school but honestly I just hate hate hate the portrayal of nerds as losers and how they can't be friends with the popular kids. I'd be lying if I said no there isn't some divide between the two but honestly from everything that I've been through and that I've seen, it's never as catty as it's portrayed as in books. There are a lot of popular kids I know at my school that I genuinely like, that are genuinely nice and that are really really smart. It's so bizarre for me to see popularity in books or movies always based on looks because yeah while that's a large part of it, a lot of the time you don't get popular just based on how you look. Like a lot of the people who are popular are just really really friendly and outgoing. They're not bad people and that's something that bugged me so much in the pages I read of this book. I don't care if it's something that gets cleared up in the end, from the 80 pages I read, this was something I had a lot of trouble with. It's just so so so cliche.

So anyway, I don't know.. this entire book just didn't really work for me at all. 

But on a positive note, was there anything you did like about it?
I hate when this happens but I honestly cannot find a single thing I enjoyed about this book while I was reading it.

Final Notes

Smart Girls Get What They Want just really really didn't work for me. And it leaves me a little confused because there are so many great reviews for this book so it's kinda like what am I missing here but also a little bit of what do you guys see in it WHICH I HATE THINKING ABOUT AND SAYING but if we're being honest here, I truly truly do not understand the attraction with this book. Yes I know I didn't read the entire book but even with the 80 pages I read where basically NOTHING happened, it just wasn't very good at all. I really pushed myself to get through this book but after 80 pages I just couldn't any more. I was holding out for it to get better and you know, it probably does but I just did not have the patience to wait around. I think sometimes being in high school now, it ruins some books for me because I'm always comparing the descriptions of the high school in the book to my own experience. And sometimes when things just don't feel right like with this book, I have a hard time ignoring it and getting into the book. So that's a part of why I didn't finish reading this book and another reason is also I just didn't connect with any of the characters and didn't really care about them at all. So unfortunately overall, Smart Girls Get What They Want just didn't really work for me. 

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