Smart Girls Get What They Want-Sarah Strohmeyer
Maybe we were being a bit unrealistic, but we had this hope that if we could just get into the Ivy League, everything would be set. We dreamed of Gothic libraries and leafy green quads and romantic dorms with fireplaces and guys who were not only cute but also smart and charming, and quite possibly, British. In college, we believed, we’d finally find our people.
Smart Girls Get What They Want is a feel good book for the nerdy, hopeless romantic in all of us. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll get embarrassed, but you’ll have fun and quite possibly discover a little something about yourself.
Plot: Best friends Gigi, Bea, and Neerja thought they had it all figured out, they’d slave over their grades, spend all breathing hours prepping for the SATs and get into their Ivy League of choice. There they would find their people, and finally have time to find boys worth dating (see quote). But one day, while helping their role model, Neerja’s sister, who just got into Princeton, pack for school, they found her high school yearbook buried under her bed. Beyond curious, they decide to see what her peers thought of her and are completely shocked to find all of the pages nearly blank, someone even asked who she was. For the first time, the girls start to question their plan, they didn’t want to be friendless, invisibles that people wrote generic yearbook goodbyes about, they wanted real, loving entries. The girls make a pact, that this year, would be about doing something crazy, something that would catch people’s attention and get them noticed, and save them from social suicide. Their goal had to be challenging, out of their comfort zones, and even borderline risky. Gigi is coerced into running for student rep after her academic honesty is questioned. When Gigi and resident funny guy Mike are accused of cheating and she finds out that there will be a note in her file that admissions officers will see, Gigi is infuriated by the unfairness and runs for student rep to try and change the system. Bea has always loved theatre but she’s never been the lead, always the girl in the background, helping people with lines, directing, etc., but this year she wants the lead in Romeo and Juliet. Neerja was en route to Olympic level skiing when her brother had an accident that nearly killed him, from that point on she was banned from skiing. This year, she wants to join the team, and doesn’t mind secretly going behind her parents back to do it. Meanwhile, there’s a new guy at school, Will from California, who can’t seem to leave Gigi alone. Pact made, plans solidified, these smart girls embark on a hysterical, endearing exploration into friendship, life, love, and growing up to realize that you really can get what you want if you put your mind to it.
- There’s so much going on here character-wise. Each girl, and even the lesser characters have fully developed, unique storylines that flow seamlessly together. The high school is not an overly clichéd cesspool of stereotypes but shows that each person, no matter their spot in the social hierarchy is multidimensional, they all have dreams, and goals, and their own set of issues.
- Gigi is the kind of girlfriend that loves and cares for her friends so much that she’s willing to make personal sacrifices to help them towards their goals. She joins the ski team, even though she’s only been on the bunny trails, she offers to audition for R+J, even though she has extreme stage fright, and goes out of her way to help anyone in need. She’s a sweetheart with a wacky French grandmother, and scientist mother who lives in Iceland. She’s bold, she’s bubbly, and she’ll have you rooting for her through all her silly assumptions, fails, and all out presumptuous comments that will have you shaking your head in wonder at just how wrong she can be.
- Bea is that quintessential loud, opinionated, controlling friend who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and push you to go beyond the goals you’ve set for yourself. From a family of lawyers, she always has something to say and notices everything. She also has some of the funniest, sarcastic, yet surprisingly witty lines in the book.
- Neerja is an Indian girl (let me just glow for a minute; I absolutely love when there are characters from such colorful, different backgrounds rich in tradition and their own quirks. Every time this happens, I fall a little more in love with the book) who is a teensy bit shy but wickedly smart, and a blushing mess when it comes to boys. She’s probably the nerdiest of all the smart girls but is the sweetest, most insecure, and has the biggest transformation at the end of the book.
- Mike and Will. Both hot, both adorably dreamy, thoughtful, and playful enough to sympathize with Gigi’s boy troubles.
- Slow at times but definitely worth mucking through.
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