A couple of weeks ago, I received an early review galley of THOSE GIRLS by Lauren Saft from the NOVL newsletter. Before I jumped into it, I read the note that NOVL sent along with it, which made it sound like this book was going to be pretty shocking. They actually called it “one of the rawest reads we’ve ever encountered.” I didn’t think that was possible. Then I started reading it.
Before I get into my thoughts about the book, let me just quickly explain what it’s about. Three girls, Alex Holbrook, Mollie Finn, and Veronica Collins, are best friends and their school’s resident party girls. Each of them has their own issues and worries. Alex is in love with her neighbor and has secretly joined a band. Mollie is the mean one, and her boyfriend is basically a sociopath. And Veronica flaunts her body and everything she can do with it, just so she can fulfill her need for love. As you might expect from the sound of this, there’s plenty of drama, lots of betrayal, and tons of emotions. Their junior year could bring them closer than ever, or it could ruin their friendships for good.
The point of view alternates between each of the three girls, and the first three chapters are the most shocking, at least initially. At first, I thought the swearing, smoking, and talk of sex seemed a little forced. Let’s put it this way: it definitely wasn’t something I’d want my parents or anyone else reading over my shoulder.
But once the first few chapters were out of the way and the initial shock was gone, I was able to get more of a feel for who these girls were. I found myself on a roller-coaster with each of them. Every few chapters, I was sure I knew which girl I hated and which was my favorite, but a little more reading would change my mind. By the end of the book, I had loved and hated each of them plenty of times.
Alex, Mollie, and Veronica aren’t exactly likeable, even by the end of the book, but in my opinion, they don’t really need to be. While I was reading, I imagined myself back in high school, thinking of the girls who were popular but overly-sexual. The girls who drank too much and were proud of it. The girls I wasn’t exactly fond of, but who fascinated me anyway. That’s what I’d compare these girls to.
They’re those girls you love to hate. Those girls you know have some reason for all their craziness deep down. Those girls who are like walking train wrecks you can’t look away from. Those girls you’ll never fully understand. Those girls who will love you or hate you and won’t be afraid to show it either way.
Even as I kept turning the pages, I wasn’t sure if I loved this book until I got to the end and found myself missing the characters. I wanted to see more of their crazy, unhealthy friendships. Days after finishing the book, my thoughts keep randomly going back not just to the book, THOSE GIRLS, but to those girls in the book.
If you’re looking for a book that is free of swearing, sex, drinking, etc., this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for a book that’s filled with all of the most dramatic moments from shows like Gossip Girl, or if you’re looking for a raw, unfiltered shock, then you’ll love this book. Even if you’re not exactly looking for a shock, but like to find the heart in characters who often seem heartless, you’ll enjoy this one.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even in those moments when I was sure I hated the characters. I definitely recommend it!
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Lauren Saft’s THOSE GIRLS will be published in June by Poppy.