Those Girls by Lauren Saft | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
For years, the Poppy imprint over at Little Brown has provided us with many a shallow and fluffy rich-kids-go-wild novels and series. Typically, what makes these stories such a hit with the teens is because it seems equally obtainable and unrealistic. Young readers get their fill of fictional lives that seem different from their own but often parallel their lives or someone they knows. They’re light, they’re fun, they’re OMG worthy and overall something to lose themselves in. You just can’t look away.
Which is exactly why I was thrilled to see one of their latest publish works by Lauren Saft, titled Those Girl, listed on Net Galley. I’m such a sucker for the latest trashy young adult oriented chick lit (even now in my early twenties) so it’s no surprise I requested it with the highest hopes and a tasty Cosmo on the side. Here I was, ready for the latest from one of my go-to publishers.
After all, how could one go wrong? Growing up, I owned a great deal of novels published through the Poppy imprint. Most notable being Gossip Girl, The A-List and The Clique. Poppy is a pro when it comes to drawing readers in, but in the case of Those Girls it was one of their rare misses. I can’t actually recall a time when I didn’t like one of their prints until this moments. I've never been so damn disappointed. What went wrong?
Those Girls starts off slow and never quite picks up for me. It was certainly targeted at readers who enjoy the sex, luxury and betrayal of the series listed above but it never really sparks an interest throughout the pages. I don’t feel like these characters have any real sense to them and for much of the novel, these so called friends, were spent doing idiotic things that made my palm collide with my head on several occasions.
We’ve seen it all before and it’s forgettable and generally boring because of this. What went wrong with it, you ask? I can’t say. All of the characters were insufferable and seemed to have nothing of interest in their minds, making the narratives seem like they were lacking something and most of the time I couldn’t stand them. There's nothing unique or likeable in them, not even in a "it's just a silly book" way.
There’s all the alcohol consumption, sex and drug use that one is used to finding in novels such as this, so I'm not saying it won't be a hit with readers. It could very well be.
But the thing is... this book seemed to have no real point other than a cheap attempt to be raw and realistic and edgy but at the end coming off as try-hard and unlikeable. Perhaps I am getting too old for such books, but it was just bothersome through and through – pointless betrayal, friendships that were anything but, toxic relationships and a ton of slut shaming in ridiculous manners that may be realistic for many reasons but still seemed played out and insulting throughout the entire novel.
It was an insult, really. The entire damned thing was cringe worthy and made me roll my eyes on multiple occasions. No growth, no fun, no redeeming qualities, no heart and soul, no real point -- nothing about this book is fun or readable at the end of the day. It lacks sparkle. It lacks everything that makes other Poppy prints likeable and fun.
Those Girls aims to be the next book in the vein of Gossip Girl and The A-List but gets tied up in its own strings as we watch a batch of unlikeable characters do ignorant things and get under your skin in the worst ways. Gossip Girl was at least entertaining in all its faults and had a certain heart/soul to it to excuse its poor writing and ridiculous plots, and this can be said about The A-List as well. But Those Girls just seems to lack something of a substance to it and I can’t see many readers connecting to such a horrendous batch of characters.
It had a lot of wasted potential. In all the roads this novel could have taken, it just didn’t. Because Poppy is known for its books and adaptions in movies in television, I could easily see this being adapted elsewhere -- and maybe an adaption, a loose one, is just what this story needs.
While these books don’t aim to be serious, they aim to be scandalous, this novel was just a wreck beyond the typical OMG moments and with a lot of alterations could have been a much more tolerable read. It doesn’t treat its readers as smart, it treats everything -- especially these so called friends feelings -- it doesn’t offer anything except collective idiocy in rich teens who think they can do or say whatever they want. I sound like an old woman saying it like that but hey, if the shoe fits…
There’s a boat load of ignorance in it that cannot be overlooked and makes me cringe to think about it and realistically, there are NO redeeming qualities in it – which is a lot coming from me, who is typically pretty free when it comes to typical trashy novels. Those Girls is the type of novel that will rightfully so get banned from libraries and schools but will unfortunately more than likely be one of the next IT novels.
Alex, Mollie and Veronica are just all so... UGH...
I wasted a great deal of time on this mess of a novel and can easily say that it is so far the worst one I’ve read in 2015. That’s all I can review. And to leave you on this, if you should decide to read it, there’s quite a few trigger warnings to be included in this novel so I don’t really recommend even checking it out if you don’t have an easy time with, say, friends slipping friends a roofie. I’m just saying.
The only things this novel had going for it was a cute cover and the fact that Net Galley had it up for free for the first 1000 readers. It’s not even worth the one star I decided, on a whim, to give it for God only knows what reason.