Mostly Good Girls [NOOK Book]

Overview

The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that ...
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Mostly Good Girls

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Overview

The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge epic failure?
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  • Mostly Good Girls
    Mostly Good Girls  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sixteen-year-old Violet and her best friend, Katie, do everything together. They attend an all-girls prep school in the Boston area, and while their home lives differ slightly (Violet's parents are more supportive and less affluent), their shared concerns are typical: crushing on the same guy, worrying about PSAT scores and getting into an Ivy League college, and juggling afterschool activities. Success seems to come easily for Katie, while Violet is a workaholic, but both girls are deeply stressed by academic pressures. When Katie begins acting out (suggesting they get drunk, stealing Ritalin, dating a burnout), Violet's world is turned upside down. While debut author Sales conveys the dynamics of the girls' friendship with honesty and a light touch, her meandering vignette-style narrative doesn't gain focus until the second half of the book, when Katie's self-destructive streak emerges and Violet's insecure, competitive character gains more likeable dimensions. Katie emerges as the more compelling individual; readers will likely understand her decision to leave the shelter of her privileged private school world to seek more diverse life experiences. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
*“Witty and unpretentious, Violet is a likable narrator. Suggest this one to readers who enjoy the writing style of Ally Carter. A strong debut that is not be missed.

STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal, Oct. 2010

"Brilliant, poignant, and straight-up hilarious. Leila Sales is a fresh and fabulous new voice in YA."
—Lauren Oliver, bestselling author of Before I Fall

"Written as a series of notably short chapters, the names of which provide a fair amount of punch on their own ("Sophistry in Spanish class")....[Mostly Good Girls is] overall an enjoyable, light read."

—Kirkus

"Private-school culture functions only as a backdrop here; Sales focuses her debut [Mostly Good Girls] on the dynamics between Violet and Katie, and the friendship story is refreshingly free of confrontational cliques and catty female stereotypes, while short, snappy chapters keep the story moving.... Recommend this to fans of Meg Cabot’s novels and academy-based stories." —Booklist

"Sales conveys the dynamics of the girls' friendship with honesty and a light touch." —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Violet Tunis goes to Westfield School, an expensive private day school for girls in Boston, Massachusetts, where she works very hard to do well. Violet idolizes her best friend, Katie Cabot Putnam, whose life seems to be effortlessly perfect. They both have a major crush on Scott Walsh, the unattainable cute boy from Harper Woodbane—Westfield's brother school. Violet is the editor in chief for her school's literary magazine, Wisdom. She loves the job and wants to improve the magazine's status in the eyes of her fellow students. Katie begins to change during the course of their junior year and, much to Violet's dismay, starts dating a nineteen year old high school dropout who drinks and smokes marijuana. The girls get into trouble over a satirical short story about their school and classmates for which they are supposed to apologize or face having a permanent bad mark put on their school records. Violet and Katie have a huge argument over whether they should acknowledge their poor judgment—Katie does not think they have done anything wrong, but Violet worries how much harder the bad report will make it for her to be accepted at a top notch college. They have a good talk after Violet does apologize to their class and Katie apologizes for having hurt her best friend. Katie ends up going to public school because she needs to get away from her lucky upper class life. Violet discovers she has more going for her than she thought and learns to survive school without Katie. It is refreshing to read a book about privileged girls who do not obsess on clothes or use such words as "fav." Violet and Katie are believable, flawed girls, which makes this story quite enjoyable. Plus, there is a lot of subtle humor in this book. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
VOYA - Marlyn Beebe
Violet and her best friend Katie are juniors at the exclusive, private Westfield School, near Boston. They've been friends since they were both assigned to work on a project together in their first year at Westfield. Violet's plans for the year are pretty basic: get straight As, do well on the PSATs, edit the school's literary magazine, and figure out how to talk to boys. She always thought that Katie's plans were much the same, but Katie is changing. She has a bucket list of "teenage things" to do, and seems to think that sensible Violet should share the experiences with her. Violet goes along with starting up a fake tour for the lower school students (to earn money), and getting drunk (just for the experience), but when her friend starts dating a marijuana-smoking barista, Violet starts to distance herself. In an effort to smooth things over, Violet lets Katie convince her to add a cruel reality-based story to the winter edition of the school magazine. The administration does not take this well, and Violet finds herself bearing the blunt of the responsibility and punishment, while Katie decides to leave the school. This exploration of growing up, personal change and angst is well-written, and will likely be enjoyed more by the Violets than by the Katies. Reviewer: Marlyn Beebe
School Library Journal
Gr 9–11—Katie and Violet have been inseparable since seventh grade. The competition among the juniors at their all-girls private school is fierce, even between these friends. Violet doesn't understand Katie's recent decisions to keep her PSAT scores a secret, quit crew, get intoxicated, and date a guy who appears to be a loser. Violet is jealous that Katie can effortlessly do everything, making her question why she is seemingly throwing it all away. In an effort to rekindle their strained friendship, the girls publish an unauthorized parody of their school in the literary magazine that Violet edits. She takes the punishment that is doled out, but Katie does not comply with what is asked of her. With this turn of events, Violet finally learns what has been motivating Katie. Witty and unpretentious, Violet is a likable narrator. Some of her funniest reactions are in response to the dating advice Katie shares from a magazine she's read. Each of the classmates has a discernible personality. The girls discuss crushes, fashion, and gossip, but Sales delves into more serious issues like the pressure to be perfect and how it can manifest itself. Suggest this one to readers who enjoy the writing style of Ally Carter. A strong debut that is not be missed.—Lori A. Guenthner, Baltimore County Public Library, Randallstown, MD
Kirkus Reviews

Violet Tunis has always felt like second best, especially when she's around her particularly smart, wealthy and beautiful best friend, Katie, who seems to effortlessly be the best at everything. Having been friends from the seventh grade (after a brief three-day period when they were "sworn enemies"), by their junior year at their tony Boston private school, Westfield, Violet has come to accept and admire Katie's success.However, when Katie starts acting in a self-destructive manner by quitting crew, breaking Westfield's rules and engaging in risky behavior with drugs and alcohol, Violet is torn between her loyalty to Katie and her own internal barometer of right and wrong. Written as a series of notably short chapters, the names of which provide a fair amount of punch on their own ("Sophistry in Spanish class"), some sections feel abruptly staccato and underdeveloped. Although overall an enjoyable, light read, there are few surprises, and the pat ending leaves this text feeling flat. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442406810
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 529,689
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Leila Sales
Leila Sales grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Chicago. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children’s book publishing. Leila spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write. Learn more at leilasales.com and follow her on Twitter at @LeilaSalesBooks.
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Read an Excerpt


Mr. Thompson’s
sordid past

Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School. Unless you count Mr. Roebeck, the bio teacher, which I don’t, because he is approximately two million years old and the only manlike thing about him is that he wears neckties.

Oh, and also there are the maintenance men, but nobody counts them, because they are manual labor. We generally don’t notice them at all, except on Maintenance Man Appreciation Day. This is a holiday in March, but they don’t get the day off or anything. All that happens then is, whenever we see one of the maintenance men around school, we have to say to him, “Thank you for all your hard work!” Inevitably, the maintenance men will respond by looking like they want to kill us, or themselves, or everyone, and then they’ll sort of grunt, “You’re welcome,” and go back to emptying the trash receptacles in the bathroom stalls.

But Maintenance Man Appreciation Day is only one day out of the year. The rest of the time we lead an entirely man-deprived existence, with the exception of poor Mr. Thompson, who is our Brad Pitt, Elvis Presley, and James Dean all rolled into one.

Mr. Thompson is, at the absolute least, twice my age. He has an awkward, scrappy beard and high-top sneakers that are persistently too white, as though he polishes them on a regular basis. When he gets excited about a mathematical theorem, his voice squeaks. On his upper arm is an unarguably stupid tattoo of a smiley face, the result, my best friend Katie believes, of drunken misjudgment. Katie tells the tattoo story like this:

When Mr. Thompson was a young and impressionable math undergrad, he got it into his head to pledge a fraternity. All the new pledges had to drink a lot of alcohol—like one keg each, Katie says. (She doesn’t care that this isn’t physically possible.) In a drunken stupor Mr. Thompson wandered away from the frat house, fell in with a gang of thugs, made out with a sexy homeless leather-clad hippie transvestite, and got a smiley-face tattoo at the local drug dealer’s house.

Unfortunately, he never made it into the frat—due to some technicality, Katie explains, vaguely. And the sexy homeless hippie transvestite turned out also to be a gypsy, so she disappeared into the cloudy night, leaving Mr. Thompson with nothing but a broken heart and a goddamn stupid tattoo.

Now, I hope I’ve been clear here: Katie made this story up. It is a total lie. However, this doesn’t stop all the lowerclassmen from believing it. I mean, the tattoo is right there! Clearly visible! So obviously the rest of the story must be true, too, right?

So, in short, Mr. Thompson is all around a little bit lame. Plus he is married and has a three-year-old son. But! He is undeniably male, and so every girl at Westfield flirts with him. Constantly.

In class today, for example, Tasha sashayed up to his desk while the rest of us were silently trying to integrate an expression. Tasha cooed, “Mr. Thompson? I’m having a lot of trouble with this problem.”

Mr. Thompson said, “Just give it your best try. We’ll go over it in a few minutes.”

Tasha said, “Yeah, but it’s really hard. I think I need extra help.”

Mr. Thompson said, “Do you want to come back to the math office during lunch?”

Tasha said, “I was thinking more like Saturday. At ten p.m. At your house.”

By this point in his career Mr. Thompson doesn’t even have the decency to look scandalized by this sort of sexual harassment. He just looked tired and told Tasha to sit down.

Everyone else in the room was in hysterics. Mostly because there was no way Tasha needed extra help from Mr. Thompson. Because she is not technically in his class.

I’ll grant you it’s only four weeks into the school year, so maybe he hasn’t memorized all his class rosters yet, but still. Mr. Thompson does not notice much. The Tasha Incident was, Katie wrote to me in a note, further proof that he is in a DRUNKEN STUPOR.

I responded to Katie’s note by scrawling, Oooh, hopefully that means he’ll get another tattoo this afternoon!

When Mr. Thompson confiscated this note, he just read it, sighed, and said to us, “Katie? Violet? Please try not to write notes in class.” Katie and I nodded solemnly. Then he dismissed us all ten minutes early to lunch, which meant that everyone in my math class got two helpings of bread pudding!

I think Mr. Thompson may quit soon. It’s just this hunch I have.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Dots, dashes, stars,
and exclamation points

In English class this morning, Katie and I made a list of how far every girl in our grade has gone. The hardest part was remembering everyone. For the longest time our list had only fifty-two names. Turned out we were forgetting Rachel Weiss.

Once we had written down all the names, we marked them with cryptic symbols to indicate their sexual experience. The symbols had to be cryptic in case someone else was reading our list over our shoulders, which probably someone was, because the other option was to listen to Lily Vern explain, for the twentieth time, why Wordsworth is the only poet who has ever mattered. So we used a dot for kissing, a dash for second base, a star for third, and an exclamation point for going all the way. If you hadn’t even kissed anyone, you got nothing.

The list looked like this:

Pearl *
Hilary •
Mischa !
Katie –
Violet

And so on.

Katie and I had a whispered argument over her dash. “You have not been to second base,” I hissed as Ms. Malone put up a Williams Carlos Williams poem on the overhead projector.

“Yes I have,” Katie insisted. “The summer after freshman year, with that guy I met on the Vineyard. Brad.”

“I remember Brad,” I said, “and I remember that he tried to feel you up. But you specifically said, right after it happened, that he failed to feel you up enough for it to count as second base. It was over the shirt, wasn’t it?”

“It was over the bra,” Katie said, like that made all the difference, “and I’m counting it now, retroactively, because sixteen is too old to have never been to second base.”

I refrained from pointing out that, by her logic, sixteen is also too old to have never been French-kissed, so what does that make me? There must be something deeply flawed about me that no boy has ever wanted to kiss me. Not that I have even spoken to that many boys who I actually wanted to kiss. Pretty much just Scott Walsh.

Maybe I should just start lying, like Katie was doing, or counting things that obviously don’t count, like, “Remember the time my cousin David kissed my cheek? I get a dot for that.”

Wait. No. Ew.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Exclamation points only

Mischa and Zoe are the only girls in the junior class who have had sex, so they got the only two exclamation points on our list. For the rest of the morning, whenever Katie and I saw them, we exclaimed, “Mischa!” or “Zoe!” This cracked us up, but Mischa and Zoe were less amused, since they weren’t in on the joke. Not to mention that Mischa is never amused by anything. That is just her way.

Katie and I got lunch from the cafeteria and carried it outside. The breeze had a bit of a bite to it, the first hint that it really was autumn. The midday sun shone down brightly, filtering through leafy branches of elm and maple trees and onto the bench swing in the courtyard where Katie and I sat. Katie rocked us lightly back and forth as I picked apart my ostensibly chicken sandwich, looking for a single piece of actual chicken. Westfield is pretty expensive, and I’m not sure where all the tuition money goes, but definitely not into the cafeteria’s budget.

Around us the courtyard was filled with girls sitting on benches or lying on the uniformly green grass, propped up against backpacks and doing their reading. A few girls had taken off their shirts, trying to eke out that last bit of summer tan, even though technically we’re not allowed to do this. Westfield doesn’t have a strict dress code, but “Keep your shirt on” is a standard rule, and one that I like to follow. It was a little too chilly to be parading around the schoolyard in a bra or bikini top, and anyway, I don’t tan—unlike Katie, or Pearl, or Genevieve, or my other perfect-skinned classmates. I freckle.

The school building, resplendent in aged brick and ivy, encircles the courtyard. To our left extended the playing fields, and then, far beyond them, I could see the tips of the Boston skyline rising into the clear blue sky. I felt like I was in one of those photographs that the school sends to prospective students. Except for the shirtless girls. They generally get cropped out of Westfield’s promotional materials.

“I want a bra like that,” Katie commented.

I followed Katie’s gaze to see a well-endowed senior sunbathing in an electric-blue bra. “Right, and you would know,” I said. “Since you’ve apparently been to second base and all. So you’re like the bra expert now.”

Katie rolled her eyes at me. “Whatever, Miss Moody. Anyway, more important than my sexual experience—”

“Your awe-inspiring sexual experience,” I put in.

“Right, more important than that, guess what Mischa! did in physics today?”

“What?”

“Made fun of Emily for using a drugstore-brand hairbrush instead of a designer hairbrush.”

“Did she really?” I shook my head. “That is so bitchy. Why is Mischa so bitchy? Why does Emily’s hairbrush even have anything to do with her?”

Katie nodded her agreement. “But you know what made me feel a little better about it?”

“The knowledge that Mischa will die someday?”

“No. The fact that I can put an exclamation point at the end of her name.”

I cracked up, and we both shouted “Mischa!” across the courtyard with hearty enthusiasm.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Getting comfortable with our …
never mind, I can’t say it

Sex ed has got to be the most embarrassing subject a high school could possibly teach. It’s also useless, since the only thing Ms. Wheeler lectures about is various forms of birth control: the pill, condoms, sponges, etc., all of which may be academically interesting but is still practically meaningless, since I don’t know any boys. Well, okay, I know Scott Walsh and a few other Harper Woodbane guys—but I can’t imagine ever being in a position where exchanging sexually transmitted diseases with any of them would be an option. Learning how to protect myself from chlamydia is nice, but if Ms. Wheeler really wants to sexually educate me, she could start by teaching me how to talk to a boy without choking on my own saliva.

Today in sex ed Ms. Wheeler talked about what our “options” would be if we got pregnant, which is ridiculous, since everyone knows that if you get pregnant, you get kicked out of school. The Westfield School offers a few key perks that our local public schools do not, including

a) no one ever brings a gun to school.

b) every student goes on to a four-year college.

c) none of the students are ever pregnant.

Those are the rules.

Still, Ms. Wheeler told us that if we got pregnant—presumably through immaculate conception, since 96 percent of us aren’t sleeping with anyone—then we could get an abortion, or we could carry the baby to term before giving it up for adoption.

Rachel was taking copious notes, I assume because she thought there was going to be a test on this material, not because she was truly worried about getting impregnated. Rachel, like me, doesn’t have even a dot next to her name. I also couldn’t help glancing at Mischa(!) to see how she was taking all this. She sat in the back of the room, painting her nails, looking bored and virginal. Playing it cool, Mischa.

Pearl raised her hand and asked, “But if you get pregnant, can’t you keep it?” We laughed at her because, like, no, you can’t keep it. We’ve all met Pearl’s mom. She’s the dean of admissions at Harvard Business School, and she’s just counting down the days until Pearl is old enough to be CEO of a multinational corporation. If Pearl thinks she can just give all that up to become some child raiser, she is even more of a moron than I thought.

Ms. Wheeler, though, is the sort of teacher who doesn’t believe in telling students that they’re wrong—which may be why she teaches sex ed as opposed to math. So she just hinted to Pearl that it’s hard to be a full-time college student while mothering a toddler. Duh, Pearl. Then Ms. Wheeler had us all say “vagina” a bunch of times in unison, so that we will become comfortable with our vaginas.

Do you see what I mean about sex ed?

© 2010 Leila Sales

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First Chapter

Mostly Good Girls


By Leila Sales

Simon Pulse

Copyright © 2010 Leila Sales
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781442406797

Mr. Thompson’s
sordid past

Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School. Unless you count Mr. Roebeck, the bio teacher, which I don’t, because he is approximately two million years old and the only manlike thing about him is that he wears neckties.

Oh, and also there are the maintenance men, but nobody counts them, because they are manual labor. We generally don’t notice them at all, except on Maintenance Man Appreciation Day. This is a holiday in March, but they don’t get the day off or anything. All that happens then is, whenever we see one of the maintenance men around school, we have to say to him, “Thank you for all your hard work!” Inevitably, the maintenance men will respond by looking like they want to kill us, or themselves, or everyone, and then they’ll sort of grunt, “You’re welcome,” and go back to emptying the trash receptacles in the bathroom stalls.

But Maintenance Man Appreciation Day is only one day out of the year. The rest of the time we lead an entirely man-deprived existence, with the exception of poor Mr. Thompson, who is our Brad Pitt, Elvis Presley, and James Dean all rolled into one.

Mr. Thompson is, at the absolute least, twice my age. He has an awkward, scrappy beard and high-top sneakers that are persistently too white, as though he polishes them on a regular basis. When he gets excited about a mathematical theorem, his voice squeaks. On his upper arm is an unarguably stupid tattoo of a smiley face, the result, my best friend Katie believes, of drunken misjudgment. Katie tells the tattoo story like this:

When Mr. Thompson was a young and impressionable math undergrad, he got it into his head to pledge a fraternity. All the new pledges had to drink a lot of alcohol—like one keg each, Katie says. (She doesn’t care that this isn’t physically possible.) In a drunken stupor Mr. Thompson wandered away from the frat house, fell in with a gang of thugs, made out with a sexy homeless leather-clad hippie transvestite, and got a smiley-face tattoo at the local drug dealer’s house.

Unfortunately, he never made it into the frat—due to some technicality, Katie explains, vaguely. And the sexy homeless hippie transvestite turned out also to be a gypsy, so she disappeared into the cloudy night, leaving Mr. Thompson with nothing but a broken heart and a goddamn stupid tattoo.

Now, I hope I’ve been clear here: Katie made this story up. It is a total lie. However, this doesn’t stop all the lowerclassmen from believing it. I mean, the tattoo is right there! Clearly visible! So obviously the rest of the story must be true, too, right?

So, in short, Mr. Thompson is all around a little bit lame. Plus he is married and has a three-year-old son. But! He is undeniably male, and so every girl at Westfield flirts with him. Constantly.

In class today, for example, Tasha sashayed up to his desk while the rest of us were silently trying to integrate an expression. Tasha cooed, “Mr. Thompson? I’m having a lot of trouble with this problem.”

Mr. Thompson said, “Just give it your best try. We’ll go over it in a few minutes.”

Tasha said, “Yeah, but it’s really hard. I think I need extra help.”

Mr. Thompson said, “Do you want to come back to the math office during lunch?”

Tasha said, “I was thinking more like Saturday. At ten p.m. At your house.”

By this point in his career Mr. Thompson doesn’t even have the decency to look scandalized by this sort of sexual harassment. He just looked tired and told Tasha to sit down.

Everyone else in the room was in hysterics. Mostly because there was no way Tasha needed extra help from Mr. Thompson. Because she is not technically in his class.

I’ll grant you it’s only four weeks into the school year, so maybe he hasn’t memorized all his class rosters yet, but still. Mr. Thompson does not notice much. The Tasha Incident was, Katie wrote to me in a note, further proof that he is in a DRUNKEN STUPOR.

I responded to Katie’s note by scrawling, Oooh, hopefully that means he’ll get another tattoo this afternoon!

When Mr. Thompson confiscated this note, he just read it, sighed, and said to us, “Katie? Violet? Please try not to write notes in class.” Katie and I nodded solemnly. Then he dismissed us all ten minutes early to lunch, which meant that everyone in my math class got two helpings of bread pudding!

I think Mr. Thompson may quit soon. It’s just this hunch I have.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Dots, dashes, stars,
and exclamation points

In English class this morning, Katie and I made a list of how far every girl in our grade has gone. The hardest part was remembering everyone. For the longest time our list had only fifty-two names. Turned out we were forgetting Rachel Weiss.

Once we had written down all the names, we marked them with cryptic symbols to indicate their sexual experience. The symbols had to be cryptic in case someone else was reading our list over our shoulders, which probably someone was, because the other option was to listen to Lily Vern explain, for the twentieth time, why Wordsworth is the only poet who has ever mattered. So we used a dot for kissing, a dash for second base, a star for third, and an exclamation point for going all the way. If you hadn’t even kissed anyone, you got nothing.

The list looked like this:

Pearl *
Hilary •
Mischa !
Katie –
Violet

And so on.

Katie and I had a whispered argument over her dash. “You have not been to second base,” I hissed as Ms. Malone put up a Williams Carlos Williams poem on the overhead projector.

“Yes I have,” Katie insisted. “The summer after freshman year, with that guy I met on the Vineyard. Brad.”

“I remember Brad,” I said, “and I remember that he tried to feel you up. But you specifically said, right after it happened, that he failed to feel you up enough for it to count as second base. It was over the shirt, wasn’t it?”

“It was over the bra,” Katie said, like that made all the difference, “and I’m counting it now, retroactively, because sixteen is too old to have never been to second base.”

I refrained from pointing out that, by her logic, sixteen is also too old to have never been French-kissed, so what does that make me? There must be something deeply flawed about me that no boy has ever wanted to kiss me. Not that I have even spoken to that many boys who I actually wanted to kiss. Pretty much just Scott Walsh.

Maybe I should just start lying, like Katie was doing, or counting things that obviously don’t count, like, “Remember the time my cousin David kissed my cheek? I get a dot for that.”

Wait. No. Ew.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Exclamation points only

Mischa and Zoe are the only girls in the junior class who have had sex, so they got the only two exclamation points on our list. For the rest of the morning, whenever Katie and I saw them, we exclaimed, “Mischa!” or “Zoe!” This cracked us up, but Mischa and Zoe were less amused, since they weren’t in on the joke. Not to mention that Mischa is never amused by anything. That is just her way.

Katie and I got lunch from the cafeteria and carried it outside. The breeze had a bit of a bite to it, the first hint that it really was autumn. The midday sun shone down brightly, filtering through leafy branches of elm and maple trees and onto the bench swing in the courtyard where Katie and I sat. Katie rocked us lightly back and forth as I picked apart my ostensibly chicken sandwich, looking for a single piece of actual chicken. Westfield is pretty expensive, and I’m not sure where all the tuition money goes, but definitely not into the cafeteria’s budget.

Around us the courtyard was filled with girls sitting on benches or lying on the uniformly green grass, propped up against backpacks and doing their reading. A few girls had taken off their shirts, trying to eke out that last bit of summer tan, even though technically we’re not allowed to do this. Westfield doesn’t have a strict dress code, but “Keep your shirt on” is a standard rule, and one that I like to follow. It was a little too chilly to be parading around the schoolyard in a bra or bikini top, and anyway, I don’t tan—unlike Katie, or Pearl, or Genevieve, or my other perfect-skinned classmates. I freckle.

The school building, resplendent in aged brick and ivy, encircles the courtyard. To our left extended the playing fields, and then, far beyond them, I could see the tips of the Boston skyline rising into the clear blue sky. I felt like I was in one of those photographs that the school sends to prospective students. Except for the shirtless girls. They generally get cropped out of Westfield’s promotional materials.

“I want a bra like that,” Katie commented.

I followed Katie’s gaze to see a well-endowed senior sunbathing in an electric-blue bra. “Right, and you would know,” I said. “Since you’ve apparently been to second base and all. So you’re like the bra expert now.”

Katie rolled her eyes at me. “Whatever, Miss Moody. Anyway, more important than my sexual experience—”

“Your awe-inspiring sexual experience,” I put in.

“Right, more important than that, guess what Mischa! did in physics today?”

“What?”

“Made fun of Emily for using a drugstore-brand hairbrush instead of a designer hairbrush.”

“Did she really?” I shook my head. “That is so bitchy. Why is Mischa so bitchy? Why does Emily’s hairbrush even have anything to do with her?”

Katie nodded her agreement. “But you know what made me feel a little better about it?”

“The knowledge that Mischa will die someday?”

“No. The fact that I can put an exclamation point at the end of her name.”

I cracked up, and we both shouted “Mischa!” across the courtyard with hearty enthusiasm.

© 2010 Leila Sales

Getting comfortable with our …
never mind, I can’t say it

Sex ed has got to be the most embarrassing subject a high school could possibly teach. It’s also useless, since the only thing Ms. Wheeler lectures about is various forms of birth control: the pill, condoms, sponges, etc., all of which may be academically interesting but is still practically meaningless, since I don’t know any boys. Well, okay, I know Scott Walsh and a few other Harper Woodbane guys—but I can’t imagine ever being in a position where exchanging sexually transmitted diseases with any of them would be an option. Learning how to protect myself from chlamydia is nice, but if Ms. Wheeler really wants to sexually educate me, she could start by teaching me how to talk to a boy without choking on my own saliva.

Today in sex ed Ms. Wheeler talked about what our “options” would be if we got pregnant, which is ridiculous, since everyone knows that if you get pregnant, you get kicked out of school. The Westfield School offers a few key perks that our local public schools do not, including

a) no one ever brings a gun to school.

b) every student goes on to a four-year college.

c) none of the students are ever pregnant.

Those are the rules.

Still, Ms. Wheeler told us that if we got pregnant—presumably through immaculate conception, since 96 percent of us aren’t sleeping with anyone—then we could get an abortion, or we could carry the baby to term before giving it up for adoption.

Rachel was taking copious notes, I assume because she thought there was going to be a test on this material, not because she was truly worried about getting impregnated. Rachel, like me, doesn’t have even a dot next to her name. I also couldn’t help glancing at Mischa(!) to see how she was taking all this. She sat in the back of the room, painting her nails, looking bored and virginal. Playing it cool, Mischa.

Pearl raised her hand and asked, “But if you get pregnant, can’t you keep it?” We laughed at her because, like, no, you can’t keep it. We’ve all met Pearl’s mom. She’s the dean of admissions at Harvard Business School, and she’s just counting down the days until Pearl is old enough to be CEO of a multinational corporation. If Pearl thinks she can just give all that up to become some child raiser, she is even more of a moron than I thought.

Ms. Wheeler, though, is the sort of teacher who doesn’t believe in telling students that they’re wrong—which may be why she teaches sex ed as opposed to math. So she just hinted to Pearl that it’s hard to be a full-time college student while mothering a toddler. Duh, Pearl. Then Ms. Wheeler had us all say “vagina” a bunch of times in unison, so that we will become comfortable with our vaginas.

Do you see what I mean about sex ed?

© 2010 Leila Sales



Continues...

Excerpted from Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales Copyright © 2010 by Leila Sales. 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted more from this one

    Violet Tunis has a plan for her junior year at the prestigious Westfield School. This year isn't just going to be different, it's going to be perfect.

    This year she is going ace her PSATs, get straight A-minuses (or better) in all of her classes, and improve the school's literary magazine to the point where it doesn't completely embarrass her. She's going to pass her driving test, get famous, and do many awesome projects with her best friend Katie. She will also make Scott Walsh fall in love with her.

    Unfortunately for Violet, things don't go according to plan. At all.

    Instead of having a perfect junior year, Violet has the exact same problems she always has struggling to keep up with Westfield's high academic standards (and competition) and failing miserably at sounding like a sane person when talking to boys.

    On top of that, the literary magazine is a disaster and her editorial board is possibly filled with illiterates. Her driving teacher is mentally unstable. And her best friend Katie might be losing her mind.

    Everything always comes so easily to Katie. She makes being pretty and smart and successful look effortless. So why is she suddenly making all of the wrong decisions? And if even Katie is falling apart, what hope does Violet have? More importantly, if Violet doesn't have Katie by her side, does any of it matter?

    All Violet knows for sure is it's going to take a lot more than her Junior Year To-Do List to get things under control in Mostly Good Girls (2011) by Leila Sales.

    Mostly Good Girls has a lot going for it. Violet is a quirky narrator with a voice that is almost as distinct as her sense of humor. Interestingly, this book is also the first one I have ever read where the teenagers talk exactly like I did as a teenager.*

    Violet and Katie and their friend Hilary are all well-developed and come alive on the page. They are all so real, so unique, and so exactly like I was a teenager. It was refreshing to be able to see my own experiences reflected in this crazy, hysterical book.

    My love for Violet, Sales' beautiful writing, and the book's wonderful setting is almost enough to make me love this book unconditionally. But I also wanted more from it.

    The beginning of the novel is, simply put, genius--filled with witty snapshot-like chapters about Violet's life at Westfield. Snapshots that, I might add, could have been from my own high school. The actual plot, the plot you'll see on the book jacket, doesn't come up until about halfway in. At that point, for me, the story lost some of its verve.**

    While the book remains authentic and charming I probably would have been just as happy with more snapshots about Westfield and less about Katie's crisis. That might be me.*** The ending offers some semblance of closure although a lot about Violet's life does remain up in the air.

    Mostly Good Girls is an exceptional debut from a masterful author. Leila Sales is definitely going places and Mostly Good Girls is definitely a must read for anyone looking for an antidote to the vanilla, artificial high school experiences so often seen in books and movies.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Alright

    This book is alright. I don't feel like it goes anywhere, theres no plot. I'm more than halfway through and nothing has happened yet. It's not a page turner, I don't find myself wanting to read more. It's boring.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2011

    Awsome book

    It's funny, it's not one that keeps you breathless, but still good. I love Violet and Katie's friendship, I wish I had a friendship like theirs.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Coolio

    This book is on my top 10 list. The characters are real and some parts are predictable but otheres are not. This story could totaly be real, and thats what helps ,ake it such a great book. Read it and you wont regret it! :)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    A Laugh Out Loud Book!

    First of all, I read this book because of the review on the cover from Lauren Oliver. I am a big fan of her book "Before I Fall", so I figured that if she liked it maybe I would too. I didn't stay up at night thinking about this book, and it didn't leave me breathless for more. But, I must say, the relationship between best friends Katie and Violet was very genuine. Their banter kept me smiling throughout the book, and I actually had to put down the book a few times to just laugh. Ms. Sales really captured what it's like to have a best friend, that implicit understanding of one another. I think any teenager would enjoy "Mostly Good Girls".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    Amazing!! ;)

    It left me wanting to know what happens next! She should write a sequel. Please write a sequel!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Would nit read

    I didn't like it. No point to it just about boys and future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Didn't take my breath away.

    This book was an easy read but not very interesting. It did not leave me burning to read on and devour the book. I feel like I know whats coing next with every page I turn. Not exactly a breathtaking book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Great BOOK!!!

    This book is hilarious & witty. It is easy to realate to and is just a wonderful story!!! I love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    Alright.

    This book was okay, but I felt that there wasn't anything really special about it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    OMG

    this tops my list of favorite books, it was a fun and easy read. Gawd the characters are so real they remind you of yourself.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good YA novel about friendships..

    We have all been teenagers at one point in our lives. Some are experiencing these years as we speak, while others have moved on to adulthood. Once in a while, a novel will surface that will not only relate to teenagers but, adults as well. In my case, Mostly Good Girls, re-hashed past memories of my high school days. Even though it took place in an all girl boarding school setting, I connected with the ever changing friendships and sappy boy crushes. However, at first I had a rough time getting into the continuous narrated stories. Midway, I got used to the jumpy format and lost myself in the witty, light-hearted sense of humor Leila presented for her characters.

    Violet, the main character, was a charming and sensible young lady. Her personality traits stuck out to me the most. The unconditional love towards her friends glorified what a lovely individual she was. Being a sucker for a romantic connection, I unfortunately didn't feel it in this book. But, thinking outside the box, Leila created a world focused on friendships instead of a tensive relationship found in most books. The element of Katie and Violet's ups and downs reminded me of what friendships are truly like. It's not all peachy, we all have issues, so I was glad that these two didn't shy away from normalcy. The ending wrapped up well and left me pleasantly happy with the whole outcome. Mostly Good Girls, brought a refreshing aspect that will leave a mark on the YA community. Tired of physically and emotionally frustrated characters and need something real? Pick this up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A really funny book!

    Mostly Good Girls is a really funny read about Violet and her best friend Katie who both go to a exclusive all girls private school in Boston. The school is very competitive and the interactions are very honest and frank. Violet comes across as a very likeable young woman, someone that anyone would love to have as a best friend. The novel is littered all over with humor and snark and situations that I wished I had going through school. The best part is the fact that Violet and Katie might have grown apart for a while, they still end up staying friends and I think that is the best thing you can take away from this book. Well, that and a really funny look at prep school girls.

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  • Posted October 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Wildly Fun Romp Through Prep School

    Leila Sales is absolutely hilarious. Violet's travails through prep school are refreshingly witty and unabashedly honest. Violet is the type of person that you can't help but want to befriend. She's kind, funny, and smart. She knows who she is and what she wants and she's also completely loyal to her best friend Katie.

    Violet and Katie go through a lot in their junior year. From Harry Potter tours to getting drunk for the first time, these two are the picture of best friends. Their ups and downs are the backbone of the book, not their romantic adventures or the insane pressure from school. The two girls carry the story together, living, learning, and growing up.

    Violet is well-developed and impossible not to like. Katie is almost the complete opposite of Violet, but they make quite the pair. Violet and Katie don't interact too much with the male species, so when they do, it is more than amusing. That, and Violet's obsession with Scott Walsh, the hottest boy at their brother school. Violet and Katie's banter had me cracking up laughing and wishing I had been so witty in high school.

    Mostly Good Girls. is a wild romp of snarky humor, mocking satire, and the fortitude of friendship. Leila Sales is an author to watch and I look forward to her future novels.

    Opening line(s): Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School. ~ pg. 3

    Favorite lines(there are so many to choose from - Here are two passages):
    Half of me was like, I will say two words to these boys, and then I will obviously trip over a backpack and knock myself unconscious and be the laughingstock of the entire Westfield School.

    But then the other half of me countered, Sometimes, you must take the bull by the horns! If there are boys in need of a school tour, then by God you must get your act together and go and give them that tour. You must make it happen. ~ pg. 212-213

    And this one:

    If I were Julia, I would have been like, "So sorry, family, the death of Grandpop is really sad - but I'm sure he would have wanted me to stay in Boston this holiday season, with Scott Walsh." And the ghost of my grandfather would have appeared just to confirm, "Yes, my dear granddaughter. Stay with Scott Walsh. For he is God's gift to womankind." ~ pg. 245

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted October 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

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    Posted April 5, 2013

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