Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 26, 2013
Series: None
Pages: 348
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: 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. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will 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 could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .

Smart Girls Get What They Want is one of those books that I thought looked cute, but then it ended up somewhere in the middle of my to-read stack. However, Anna from Literary Exploration recommended it (see her review here), so I decided to pull it from the stack. Overall I enjoyed the book, though I did have a few issues with it.

Gigi and her best friends Bea and Neerja can't wait to graduate high school and head off to college. They dream of success at Ivy League schools, the guys they will find there, and the way they'll finally come into their own. High school is only a stepping stool, a time to do work and ensure their future. But when they get a wake-up call that high school could be so much more, they decide to make the most of their time. Gigi faces her fear of public speaking and runs for student rep, Bea joins the ski team, and Neerja lands a role in the school play. After all, there's no reason they shouldn't get everything they want. But there's more at stake than just a high school reputation, at least for Gigi - her future reputation, and her heart, might also be on the line. She might be smart, but there's no textbook answer for life...

I'll be honest - the first third of this book was hard for me to get through. This wasn't because of the characters - I actually identified with Gigi right away, since I had her same attitude when I was in high school: almost everything I did was for the purpose of getting into a good college. Because of that, however, when Gigi was accused of cheating, I found the unfairness of the accusation extremely frustrating. In addition, in many ways it seemed borderline unrealistic that the characters had everything going for them, like elite prep school students on TV shows. But because a friend had recommended it, I kept reading, and I'm really glad I didn't put it down.

Gigi has a lot of admirable qualities. She was hardworking and dedicated, loyal to her friends, and willing to face her fears. The way she and her friends were willing to take risks was a good reminder that life is only what you make it (cliche, I know, but true). Bea and Neerja were great friends - friends I would have liked to have had - and I also enjoyed that they had different interests and weren't necessarily always together. However, Mike and Will surprised me the most. I wanted to dislike Mike but never quite could; at the same time, Will was almost too perfect. Aside from the characters, I really enjoyed the trivia sprinkled throughout the book as well as the Boston-suburb setting. Once I got into the heart of the story, the book was a quick read, because I wanted to know if Gigi and her friends accomplished what they set out to do. While I had originally thought the bok would be cute, it turned out to be much more than that.

This was my first book by Sarah Strohmeyer, but I'll certainly look forward to reading more from her in the future. If you like contemporary books that remind you to take risks and go after what you want, you'll definitely want to check this one out!


  1. Brilliant review!

    I got the sample off Amazon to see whether or not I should buy it and I really enjoyed it and will hopefully read it soon! :)

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic

  2. I have to say, the whole her being accused of cheating ISNT unrealistic. In my university last semester a friend I knew who is in the honor's list was accused of cheating for the FE exam, which is kind of like the BAR or CAT exam for law and medical students.. however what happened was that the guy beside her cheated from her without her knowing.. so to cut this short.. I think it is very realistic.

    I really loved this novel, I also identified with Gigi because like you, all I did during my high school and university is get good grades to get to a good undergraduate uni and now a postgrad uni. I agree, the book is more than a "cute" read. Hope you give Strohmeyer's new novel a try too! :)

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  3. This is one of my favorites. I adore the characters and the author.


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