By Ekta R. Garg
July 1, 2015
Rated: Bypass it
Three high school girls at an exclusive private school spend their junior year navigating their love lives, friendships, and life challenges. Along the way they’ll learn just how far they will go to help—and hurt—one another. At the end of it all, they’ll need to decide whether they want to stay friends. Lauren Saft gives readers a hard look at life in high school today in the cliché-ridden novel Those Girls.
Alex and Mollie have been best friends for so long they can’t remember a time when they didn’t know one another. Veronica joined them in the fifth grade, but now she’s just as integral a member of their friendship. At the start of their junior year in their exclusive all-girls school in a Philadelphia suburb, though, things are about to change.
Of the three, Mollie is the only one who has the steady boyfriend…if dating the big guy on campus while every girl throws herself at him can be called steady. His wandering eye convinces her that she needs to do what she can to make him fall hopelessly in love with her all over again, and that includes staying in shape for him. If staying in shape means skipping a few meals, well, it’s a small price to pay to keep Sam by her side.
Alex starts off the year with an agenda: to make it into a band. Even though Alex has never talked to the girls about it, she really wants to become a part of something that doesn’t have anything to do with her life at school. Her best guy friend is all for it, and Alex knows she can count on his support. Trouble is, lately she’s been seeing him as more than a friend and she wants to count on him for more than friendship. But so far he doesn’t see her that way.
Everyone knows Veronica has it all and doesn’t mind giving it up—literally. Her extra nice attitude doesn’t quite eclipse her reputation as the girl who has done every guy worth doing in town. With parents more interested in their own lives than hers, Veronica has the run of the house. Even though her reputation as the party girl is intact, Veronica starts to realize that there may be more than a rep to life.
As they start their junior year, situations get complicated as much by the unfolding of circumstances as by their personalities. Alex, Mollie, and Veronica will need every ounce of whatever bond they share if they’re going to get through the year intact.
Author Lauren Saft reinforces and fortifies every single stereotype people across the country have about the exclusive type of institution her characters attend. In the world of Those Girls parents are nonexistent and leave their teens to do whatever pleases them. The girls at the school indulge in every single vice known to man and don’t mind egging one another on in those indulgences. Conversations are dominated by the desire to do drugs or their sex lives: who they want to do, who they’re currently sleeping with, and an in-depth breakdown of the intercourse after it happens.
If someone completely unfamiliar with American life were to pick up this book, that person would come away with the impression that all American teens have foul mouths, want to spend more time getting high than getting an education, and are in the ever-persistent pursuit of the perfect orgasm and what that implies (i.e., love for girls, a reputation as a stud for guys.) Some might applaud Saft’s detailing of this particular slice of American life. I just shook my head at the lengths the book went to fulfill all of the clichés shown in movies and other books of this nature.
I recommend readers Bypass Those Girls.