Good Girls

Good Girls

4.3 43
by Laura Ruby
     
 

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In this new novel, Audrey Porter is a "good girl" -- a good student, a great daughter, an amazing friend. She's also the last person anyone expects to be hanging out with Luke DeSalvio, the hottest guy at Audrey's school. But Luke is a liar, a player, a dream, and Audrey knows it. She dumps him at her friend's Halloween party with no intention of looking back. But… See more details below

Overview

In this new novel, Audrey Porter is a "good girl" -- a good student, a great daughter, an amazing friend. She's also the last person anyone expects to be hanging out with Luke DeSalvio, the hottest guy at Audrey's school. But Luke is a liar, a player, a dream, and Audrey knows it. She dumps him at her friend's Halloween party with no intention of looking back. But everyone else is looking -- looking at a mysterious and humiliating photograph that has popped up on their cell phones and computers. But who took it? And why? And how will she ever live it down?

Editorial Reviews

Teensreadtoo.com
This is a book with heart and emotion, with true-to-life characters who don't preach or moralize, but who work hard at being the best type of people they can be. There are girls like Audrey, Ash, Joelle, Pam, and Cindy in every high school--just as there are boys like Luke and the insufferable Chilly. This is definitely a book for your keeper shelf.
Reading Rants
Who decides who's a good girl and who isn't? Audrey will soon find out as she journeys from good girl, sad girl, angry girl, to finally, REAL GIRL. Laura Ruby's wonderfully nuanced book thoughtfully deconstructs the teenage mythology of good girls, bad boys, "sluts" and "players", providing readers with a clear understanding of the difference between following your heart and falling prey to your hormones.
Romantic Times
Ruby's eye-opening novel about gossip and going too far asks: What does it mean to be a slut and a good girl? A fantastic read...
Publishers Weekly
Senior honors student Audrey has a "friends-with-benefits arrangement" with popular Luke DeSalvio. But when someone uses a camera phone at a party to sneak a picture of her performing oral sex on him-and emails the picture around to classmates (and her father, at his store)-Audrey suddenly has quite a different reputation. Not only does she have to deal with ogling and harassment from other students, but her relationship with her father becomes strained, and Luke starts ignoring her. Readers enticed by the scandalous premise will instantly sympathize with Audrey. Ruby (The Wall and the Wing), through Audrey's first-person narrative, offers plenty of frank, sisterly insight about teen sexuality, without seeming to drive home any message. The teen gives an honest description of her first gynecological exam and her first sexual experience, and she and other characters struggle with the power dynamics involved with sex ("Nobody cares what you did. Actually, it just makes you more popular," Audrey tells Luke, when they finally talk). The plot sometimes strains credibility (readers may wonder if anyone would really be so cruel as to email the incriminating photo to Audrey's father, for example, or how believable it is that Luke was really interested in pursuing a relationship with her), but the author leaves readers with plenty to ponder. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Caitlin Augusta
Audrey is in trouble. Someone snapped a photo of Audrey giving her boyfriend a blow job, and now everyone has seen the photograph. Reclassified from good girl to promiscuous girl, Audrey struggles to come to terms with her own image and to redefine her relationships with her parents, boyfriend, and friends. Audrey's well-fleshed-out group, including quirky best friend, Ash; her drama-queen pal, Joelle; and her new "easy" friends, Pam and Cindy, give the story added dimension. A surprise revelation of the mystery photographer as well as the obligatory prom scene brings the book to a conclusion. This novel takes on the controversial subject of teen sexuality, armed with strong dialogue ("I wouldn't mind boys so much if they knew how to give a girl an orgasm"), likeable characters, and detailed descriptions of Audrey's sexual activities as well as their consequences. Ruby's description of the mother-enforced ob-gyn visit is particularly vivid. While Audrey's turmoil is always heartfelt, her religious ponderings are rather murky. The author seems to waffle, changing Audrey's mind several times without apparent logic. Also some of Audrey's reflections seem too mature and refined for a teenager as well as her decision to instantly forgive the photographer who thrust her into social hell. That said, libraries with older young adults will want this book for its popularity and its frank, realistic portrayal of teen life.
KLIATT - Amanda MacGregor
Audrey has always been a good girl. She has excelled in school and never caused her parents any trouble. Now in her senior year of high school, Audrey has been hooking up with Luke at parties, but isn't sure how she feels about having just a casual, physical thing. At a crowded and noisy party, Luke and Audrey slip away for a little time alone. When someone sneaks into the bedroom and snaps a picture of Audrey performing oral sex on Luke, her whole life changes. The picture is sent from one cell phone to another and is e-mailed out to everyone, including Audrey's parents. What was a private moment has become very public. Suddenly, Audrey has a reputation. Her friends stick by her and she gains some unlikely new friends from the experience, too. Together, and from various viewpoints and experiences, the girls ponder what it means to be a slut, to have a reputation, to be a sexual creature. They debate the freedom they feel boys have to be more sexually active than girls. Though Audrey is hurt by all of the stares and harassment, she is able to get beyond the label of "slut" and realize that she is just a human, nothing worse. The graphic approach to sex and sexuality makes this a book for older teens, who will undoubtedly devour Audrey's story. The book offers a lot for discussion. The honest tone and lack of moralizing are refreshing in this thought-provoking and realistic look at teenage sexuality. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Audrey wants to spend her senior year staying at fourth in her class and hanging with her friends, so she breaks it off with the flirty and mysterious Luke DeSalvio by giving him a goodbye gift he won't forget. But at school next week, Audrey gets snickers, jeers, and dirty jokes, and Luke won't even look at her. As it turns out, someone took a photo of her intimate moment with him, and now she must spend all her energy repairing her reputation. She reacts to her newfound infamy by pouring herself into her schoolwork and analyzing her relationship with Luke via flashback chapters. Her friend Ash is horrified when Audrey tells her she's not a virgin, and Audrey resigns herself to hanging out with the school sluts. Slowly, she manages to pull herself up to second in her class, and a run-in with Luke reveals that his feelings about her were not what she assumed. Audrey reclaims her self-esteem with her new girlfriends as they all dress up as born-again virgins for the prom, and a late-night confession reveals the true culprit behind the photograph. The story ends predictably with Audrey and Luke reunited. Teens will enjoy Ruby's frank message that having sex does not necessarily make one a slut. However, the tone occasionally gets preachy, as Audrey receives advice from her parents, preacher, and gynecologist. Still, the book will appeal to teens who've matured beyond Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series (Little, Brown).-Jane Cronkhite, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The dark side of the digital age is revealed in this cautionary tale about a good girl who is photographed while "hooking up" with a popular senior. Audrey, an ivy-bound high-school student, is in love with Luke, a handsome guy she considers unattainable. Their relationship consists of passionate sexual experimentation at parties, but barely a hello in the school hallways, and Audrey is sick of it. However, before she can end it, a photograph of her in a compromising position is maliciously transmitted to everyone she knows, including her horrified father, setting off a social and psychological tsunami for the beleaguered heroine. It's a pertinent, provocative and mortifyingly dramatic set-up, but the work veers into polemic territory as Audrey and her friends argue the issues of the need for connection between love and sex and the ever-present double standard. The romantic ending fails to convince, though kids should take heart in Audrey's courage and comfort in the notion that life goes on, even after a horrific humiliation. (Fiction. YA)
Libba Bray
“Harrowing, honest, poignant, and wickedly funny, Laura Ruby’s so-good novel comes out swinging.”
Chris Crutcher
“A page turner that tells a powerful truth about girls and about our culture.”
E. Lockhart
“Frank, fearless, and very funny, Laura Ruby explodes stereotypes.”
Lisa Tucker
“Clear-eyed and perfectly pitched, this is an incredibly brave story, and Laura Ruby is a writer to watch.”
Rosemary Graham
“Good Girls sizzles with passion, insight, humor, and wisdom. A stunning read.”
Carol Weston
“A brave, funny, and realistic love story about high school seniors and the assumptions they all make about each other.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061884139
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
152,770
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Good Girls


By Laura Ruby

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Laura Ruby
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060882239

Chapter One

Beg Me

Ash says she's the Dark Queen of the Damned. I say I'm the Empress of the Undead. My dad, passing by the bathroom where we're getting ready, takes one look and declares us Two Weird Girls from Jersey.

"That'll work," Ash says.

Tonight, we're Goth. We've got the layers of black mesh shirts, the cargo pants rolled up to the knees, the ripped fishnets, the combat boots, the white face makeup and the smudgy rings of eyeliner. Ash brought a can of black hair spray, but she's already used most of it on her curly brown hair. "Not sure if there's enough left for you, Rapunzel."

"Shut up and start spraying," I say. My hair is blond, and long enough to tuck into the back of my cargoes. Ash blackens the strands around my face and puts skunky streaks all around the back. The noise scares Cat Stevens--aka Stevie, The Furminator, and Mr. Honey Head--who is watching us from his perch on the toilet tank. He jumps down and dashes out of the bathroom.

"What did you do to Stevie?" my mom calls. I hear her murmuring, "Poor baby kitty. Little marmalade man."

After Ash finishes, we crowd the mirror. "We are so hot," she says. And we are. Dark and freaky and brooding, the way vampires might look. I should like it more than I do. My black bra doesn't fit right, and the straps dig into my shoulders. The fishnets itch. It's a stupidly warmnight, and I'm already sweating. Plus, I've got on so much mascara that when I blink, my lashes spike my skin.

It's different for Ash. She's sort of Goth-y anyway, with her pierced eyebrow and sharp cheekbones and the German swearwords courtesy of her Deutsch grandma. I lean closer to the mirror. "I should have bought contacts. In the store, I saw these green lenses with slanted pupils, kind of like a lizard."

Ash frowns. "You have the coolest eyes on the planet. Amber."

"Right," I say. "Like that stuff insects get caught in."

"Plus," she says, ignoring me, "you don't get contacts for one Halloween party." Ash blinks her own dark eyes, lush as melted chocolate. "And you can stop being so cranky, please."

"Sorry." I bite my lip. "Can you believe this is our last Halloween together?"

Ash's hands fly up. "Enough with the 'Can you believe this is our last whatever?' stuff. It's October. We've got like eight whole months of school left."

"More like seven."

"Seven, then."

"Six if you count vacations," I say.

"Audrey, the key word is 'months.' Besides," she says, digging her elbow into my side, "there are more important things to worry about right now."

"Like what?"

"Like a certain person by the name of Luke DeSalvio, who I'm sure will be at Joelle's tonight. You remember him."

"Oh," I say. "Right."

"Listen to her!" says Ash. "Oh, right. Like you aren't about to explode all over this bathroom."

"Yeah, well. Like you're always reminding me, it's not serious. We're just friends," I say.

"With benefits," says Ash, her voice low so my parents can't hear it. "Anyone for tongue sushi?"

I smile but don't answer. This is Ash, the girl whose name is always mentioned in the same breath as mine: AshandAudrey, AudreyandAsh. But there's so much I haven't told her, and now I don't even know where to start. What I do know: me and Luke aren't friends, me and Luke aren't anything. I had decided I would tell him this tonight, if the subject ever came up. But we never did do much talking.

"There will be lots of guys at the party," I say. "Who knows? Maybe I'll branch out a little."

"Really?" Ash says. "Well, well. I guess someone's got a brain in her head after all."

Her phone bleats like a sheep and she grabs for it, looks at the screen. "Picture mail," she says. She presses a few buttons and the image pops up. "My baby brother in his Spider-Man costume."

I look over her shoulder. "Cute."

"Please. The boy's a demon from hell. Last week, he actually peed in one of the houseplants." Ash tosses the phone back on the sink and shakes her head in the mirror. "The spray looks great on you, but it makes my hair look like ramen noodles."

That makes me laugh a little. "Squid-ink ramen noodles," I say.

"You have to get your parents to take you to normal restaurants once in a while. Pizza, anyone?"

"We go out for pizza. Of course, it's the kind with a cornmeal crust and gobs of goat cheese."

"Goats!" says Ash.

My not-quite-normal parents are waiting for us in the living room with two glasses of wine and a digital camera--the wine for them, the camera for us. Usually, I hate all the pictures. I don't need anyone documenting my awkward teenage years. Tonight my dad insists and for once I'm okay with it, maybe because I don't look much like me anymore. My dad has us pose on the antique church pew against the yellow wall. He backs up and almost falls over the coffee table. My mom laughs and takes a sip of wine, shining and velvet in the light. They love this part, the part when I'm getting ready to go out but I haven't left yet. I wonder if it will be hard for them when I'm off at college. Besides Cat Stevens, I'm all they've got.

"Okay, girls," my dad says. "Look Gothic!"

"Goth, Dad," I say. "Not Gothic."

"Sorry," he says. "Ready? Say 'Goat cheese!'"

Because it's my dad, we both yell "Goat cheese!" In the picture, we've got the black hair, the white skin, and the bruise-colored lips, but we're both grinning like five-year-olds. Ash takes one look at the picture and says, "We've got to work on our attitudes, girl. We've got to think dark thoughts."



Continues...

Excerpted from Good Girls by Laura Ruby Copyright © 2006 by Laura Ruby. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Lisa Tucker
“Clear-eyed and perfectly pitched, this is an incredibly brave story, and Laura Ruby is a writer to watch.”
Rosemary Graham
“Good Girls sizzles with passion, insight, humor, and wisdom. A stunning read.”
Carol Weston
“A brave, funny, and realistic love story about high school seniors and the assumptions they all make about each other.”
Libba Bray
“Harrowing, honest, poignant, and wickedly funny, Laura Ruby’s so-good novel comes out swinging.”
E. Lockhart
“Frank, fearless, and very funny, Laura Ruby explodes stereotypes.”
Chris Crutcher
“A page turner that tells a powerful truth about girls and about our culture.”

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