The Girls

The Girls

3.3 13
by Tucker Shaw

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Now in paperback!
Meet Mary: She’s beautiful, she’s nice, and her ski star boyfriend is cheating on her.
Meet Crystal: She’s a townie, she works at Mod Jeans, and she’s cheating with Mary’s boyfriend.
Meet Sylvia: She’s nasty, she’s rich, and she’s got something up her Prada-designed sleeve.
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Now in paperback!
Meet Mary: She’s beautiful, she’s nice, and her ski star boyfriend is cheating on her.
Meet Crystal: She’s a townie, she works at Mod Jeans, and she’s cheating with Mary’s boyfriend.
Meet Sylvia: She’s nasty, she’s rich, and she’s got something up her Prada-designed sleeve.
Meet Amber: She’s a flake, she’s the barista at the hottest coffee shop in Aspen, and she serves up gossip even hotter than grande skim lattes.
Meet Peggy: She’s Mary’s best friend, she’s a snowboarder and aspiring chef, and she has no idea how to cope with all these girls.
A modern retelling of Clare Booth Luce’s classic play The Women (which featured not one male in the cast), The Girls is a quick-witted, stylish comedy about friendship, love, and most important, gossip! An elite Aspen prep school sets the stage for jealousy and intrigue as the lives of many girls tangle into a wickedly fun mess (in which no boys ever appear). Fans of Gossip Girl will delight in the irresistible cast of The Girls.   Praise for The Girls
“Fans of gossipy plots full of backstabbing and questions of love and friendship will enjoy this as a confection, but it can also be read as a meatier critique of the girls’ choices and priorities.” —Booklist
 “This engaging book is truly a guilty pleasure.” —Children’s Literature

F&P level: Z+

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Teenage girls who love gossip and the soap opera-like drama of high school will love this entertaining and fast-paced book. The setting is a high end prep school in Aspen Colorado. The main character is Peggy, a down-to-earth girl who applied to the prep school on a whim and was surprised when she won a full scholarship to attend. Her new best friend is Mary, a rich and beautiful girl who doesn't know that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Then there's Sylvia, a rich, spoiled snob who enjoys creating conflicts. Peggy doesn't know how to tell Mary that her boyfriend is a loser. Soon enough, Mary hears it from someone else. The ensuing events involve lies and deceit, screaming, and even some physical fighting. Peggy hopes to be a famous chef and when she has a lot on her mind, she thinks up dishes that she would like to eat. Evidently, Peggy has a lot on her mind because her tasty ideas are scattered throughout the book. This engaging book is truly a guilty pleasure. It concludes with several recipes for some of the dishes mentioned in the story, including the girl's favorite comfort food, Peggy's Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Winter Break is over, so it's back to a prestigious prep school in Aspen for Peggy. At a local coffee shop, she overhears a conversation between Amber, the vapid super-gossiping barista, and Sylvia, a Prada-wearing snob. Peggy is devastated to learn that her friend Mary's boyfriend Stephen is cheating on her with a girl from "down valley." When Mary finds out, it leads to a maze of drama, gossip, and strange alliances. The front flap claims that this book is a "modern retelling of Clare Boothe Luce's The Women." While all of the characters are female (male characters manifest themselves only by phone or text messages), that is where the similarity ends. The novel degrades into a lackluster, stereotypical vignette of the teenagers' lives. The girls are shallow and have no moments of insight. Despite dumping the cheating males in their lives, there is no real empowerment, no real message. That being said, The Girls is a quick read, with all plotlines neatly tied up by the end. The writing is easy to read, possibly appealing to reluctant readers. Fans of private-school dramas might like this book, but it lacks the intricate and sophisticated plot twists of other novels of that genre.—Melyssa Malinowski, Kenwood High School, Baltimore, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Having previously reworked Cyrano de Bergerac in Flavor of the Week (2003), Shaw again puts his stamp on high-concept YA in this retelling of Claire Boothe's 1930 Broadway hit, The Women. Despite an all-female cast, the original play was hardly feminist. Its upper-crust, mostly parasitic characters gossip, scheme and compete viciously for the attention of men who remain offstage. Here, Shaw faithfully transports characters (even the names are the same), plot and tropes to students at an upscale boarding school in Aspen, Colo. The play doesn't travel well. Its characters' single-minded focus on cheating boyfriends was dated by the '60s. The emphasis on lavishly conspicuous consumption jars in the current economic climate. The book's primary difficulty, though, stems from narrator Peggy's passivity. With no romantic interest of her own, her intense investment in the love affairs of others is downright creepy. Luckily, in a rare departure from the play, this Peggy is a budding chef, taken under the wing of a local restaurateur. Peggy's menu fantasies (recipes included) and her restaurant scenes bring a welcome whiff of bracing mountain air to an otherwise tired chick-lit retread. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Caitlin Rowland
The Girls is a quick and witty retelling of Claire Luce Booth's 1930 Broadway tale into which Tucker Shaw weaves the story of five young women attending boarding school in Aspen. Peggy and Mary are best friends and roommates at Maroon Bells School for Girls. Peggy is torn between telling Mary about Mary's cheating boyfriend or letting her find out on her own. At the moment when the gossip is revealed to Mary, a twisted story of love, pain, betrayal, and friendship unwinds. The story unfolds against the backdrop of the city of Aspen, filled with wealthy tourists, mountains to snowboard, and upscale restaurants. Peggy has a penchant for food, and whenever things get tough for her, she begins "cooking in her head." Punctuated with rich and delicious recipes, readers will devour the gossip just as readily as Peggy's imagined meals. Reviewer: Caitlin Rowland

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