Smart Girls Get What They Want
By Sarah Strohmeyer
Published: June 26, 2012
Gigi and her best friends Bea and Neerja are the smartest in their class and their role model has always been Parad, Neerja's older sister who just got accepted to Princeton. When the girls are helping her pack, they find out Parad's "dirty little secret"-no one in her class remembered her at all. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja decide right then that while their grades are still important, they want their classmates to know who they are when it is their turn to get their yearbook signed. They want to be involved, date cute boys, and do the kinds of things that normal teens get to do but to succeed they'll have to face their fears...
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It is nice to see YA books portraying intelligent girls in a positive way. At first I was worried that the goal of the girls would be to achieve popularity and that they would act less intelligent or change who they were in order to get it. Thankfully that was not the case. They managed to be true to themselves as they worked toward their goals. The girls may be smart academically but they still had lessons to learn when it came to social interaction with others, especially boys. When one character starts to think she needs to change to please a boy she likes, the other two are quick to squash that idea. Romance may be part of the story but friendship is the focus as Gigi, Neerja, and Bea take on their challenges.
I also appreciated the message that sometimes we judge people unfairly. The girls come to the realization that they look down on some of their classmates and instead of judging, they actually get to know them. The author could have taken the usual route of having the popular girls be "mean girls" who are obstacles to the heroine but I'm glad she didn't. This book reminded me of A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker, which deals with the same topic.
Gigi was a character I really liked getting to know. While I was not quite so academically driven as a teen (I was good at procrastinating), I found her to be easy to relate to, especially with her fear of public speaking. I love how she becomes so politically involved in her school and how she works to make a difference in spite of her fears. Neerja and Bea are also admirable characters and I liked how they supported each other in their goals. I wouldn't mind reading sequels featuring either of them as main characters.
If you are looking for YA contemporary fiction with humor, an intelligent heroine, strong friendships, and a little romance, then give Smart Girls Get What They Want a try.
Readalikes: A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker, Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Note: I received an ARC for review through the Amazon Vine program