Popularity is the best revenge.
In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girlsand now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.
But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn’t dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.
Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.
Praise for What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook:
“Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud.” Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Airhead
“Not since Judy Blume’s Margaret introduced herself to God has there been such a funny, genuine, conflicted, wanna-be-sorta-good-maybe-later girl as Emma. Cook’s tone as she takes on the big ones—life, love, faith, and friendship—is pitch perfect.” Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Midnight Twins and The Deep End of the Ocean
"Smart and fun and full of heart." Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Broomsticks and How to Be Bad
About the Author
Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. She is the author of The Almost Truth, Unraveling Isobel, The Education of Hailey Kendrick, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, and What Would Emma Do? as well as the Fourth Grade Fairy series. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and dogs. Visit her at EileenCook.com.
Read an Excerpt
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
By Eileen Cook
Simon PulseCopyright © 2010 Eileen Cook
All right reserved.
I planned my move back to Terrace with the same level
of care and detail employed by nations going to war. My parents, who never met a
self-help book they didn?t like, were huge fans of goal setting and
visualizing your perfect future. How would the universe send you your heart?s
desire if you weren?t clear about what you wanted? I forget which book my mom
had gotten it from, The Secret, or maybe Energy for Life, but she was big on writing down what you
wanted. Somehow this was supposed to help the universe bring it to you. The universe
apparently has short-term memory loss issues. It needs things written down. My mom
was always saying, ?The difference between wishing and goal setting is that
goal setters have a plan.? I wasn?t sure I bought into the whole theory,
but why take the chance? I thought about every facet of my plan very carefully. I
made lists and diagrams. I kept a three-ring binder with all of my notes separated
by color-coded tabs. On the first page of my binder I wrote my new mission statement in large
block letters so that the universe would be sure to see it, even if the universe had
Revenge is a tricky thing. I wanted Lauren to pay, but pay in a very
particular way. For example, it might be momentarily satisfying to do one of the
Push Lauren out in
front of a speeding dump truck
with BBQ sauce and set a herd of hungry pit bulls on
Pour honey in her hair and then tie her
down on an anthill
Dress her in a bathing
suit made out of herring and then push her into shark-infested
However, all of these
things would be over quickly. I?ll admit it doesn?t sound nice, but I
wanted her to suffer a bit longer. I wanted her to know what it felt like to have
everything taken away. Then there was the added factor that it would be difficult to
make a bathing suit out of tiny stinky fish, and I was pretty sure you could do some
heavy jail time for pushing people into shark-infested water or into the paths of
speeding dump trucks. I wanted Lauren to pay, but I wasn?t looking to spend
the next forty to life
wearing an orange jumpsuit. Orange is so not my color. No, my revenge plan was going
to have to be more creative. Plus, I wasn?t even sure where I could find a
pack of hungry pit bulls.
I made a list of the things that
were important to Lauren:
Getting the lead in the school
Her status as a
Once I had the list,
the basics of the plan were already framed out. I had to become more popular than
she was. I had to steal her boyfriend out from under her, ensure someone else took
the lead in the play, and get her kicked off the cheerleading squad.
Now I just had to figure out how to make those things happen.
The popularity angle was going to be the easiest to tackle. High schools
have a social structure more strict than a Hindu caste system. By the time you get
to your senior year everyone knows exactly where he or she belongs compared to
everyone else. You could try to change your status?you could get a new
wardrobe or take up a new sport, for example?but it would only take a few days
before everyone would shove you back into the place where they felt you belonged.
There might be a few people who shifted ranks, but it was highly unusual. I would
have the advantage of being a new kid. No one would know exactly where to put me, but they
would be trying to sort it out from the first moment they met me. I had to stack the
deck. I couldn?t become popular at Lincoln
High. I had to be popular from the moment I walked
through the front door. I spent hours thinking about what made one person more
popular than another. When I was done I taped a list to the mirror in my bedroom so
I could study it. It was a thing of beauty.
yourself up to 10 points, depending on your level of hotness, zero points being
seriously ugly and 10 points being supermodel hot. Bonus 2 points for being fit and
in shape versus merely thin. An additional 2 points for hair that looks like a
shampoo ad. Minus 1 point if you flip it around way too much. Bonus 3 points for big
boobs. Minus 5 points for being attractive but too slutty. Plus 1 point for good use
of makeup. Minus 2 points for mild disfigurement such as bad skin, crooked teeth, or
yourself 5 points for general athletic ability as defined by ability to run without
falling over and catching a ball without getting smacked in the face. 5 bonus points
for being on key school teams such as football, cheerleading, basketball, or soccer.
Minus 2 points for being on dorky teams such as archery or fencing. Bonus 2 points if you have a
leadership position on a team. Minus 2 points if you never play and instead always
sit on the sidelines.
Assign yourself 10 points for being filthy rich, 5 points for possessing mere
wealth, zero points for being middle class, and minus 5 points for being poor. Bonus
point for each item of designer clothing that you own or for accessories such as
handbags that cost more than a small used car. Minus 5 points for purchasing your
wardrobe at Wal-Mart. Give yourself 2 points if you shop at a funky vintage shop,
minus 2 points if you buy your underwear at a thrift store. Some things should never
yourself up to 10 points for exotic factors such as being from a cool place (large
city, anywhere in Europe or Hollywood), knowing famous people, having a good car,
being in a band (but not the band?wearing a
uniform that makes you look like a hotel bellman is never cool), or demonstrating
I was going back to Lincoln High, but not as
Helen Worthington. I was going to be remade into the destined-to-be-popular Claire
I was named Helen after my mom?s great aunt.
Ever notice you don?t meet a lot of Helens these days? That?s because
it?s an old lady name. Thankfully, my middle name is Claire. My mom?s
maiden name was
Dantes, and since I would be living with my grandma it made some sense to borrow it.
My mom was ticked that I wanted to register for school under a different name. She
said she didn?t feel it was necessary for me to hide myself like I was
spending my senior year in the witness protection program, but I could tell she was
just hurt that I didn?t want to use the name she had given me.
In the end my mom backed down. Either my grandma talked her into it or,
more likely, the guilt of abandoning me kicked in. No matter the reason?I
didn?t care?Helen Worthington ceased to exist. Claire Dantes officially
registered at Lincoln High. Step one of the plan was in place.
? 2010 Eileen Cook
Excerpted from Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook Copyright © 2010 by Eileen Cook. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When Lauren Wood turns Helen Worthington in as the snitch for the senior prank, the last few weeks of Helen's 8th-grade year are torturous. When her parents announce that they are going to be moving from Michigan to New York, Helen couldn't be happier. She thought Lauren was her best friend, but when she confronts Lauren, she finds out that Lauren intends to make it to the top of the popularity ladder. And Helen has no interest in the journey. So imagine Helen's horror when her parents announce that they are going on a year-long meditation retreat and Helen is going back to Michigan to live with her grandmother. Her parents convince her that karma will catch up with Lauren and can't imagine that anyone remembers Helen's outing in 8th grade. Thankfully, her grandmother is cool and helps convince her parents to let her enroll under a different name - Claire Dantes. It's only a little lie, as Claire is her middle name and Dantes is her mom's maiden name. And as the new school year approaches, Helen creates an intricate plan to get her revenge on Lauren, whom she's determined to dethrone. Helen's plan seems to go off without a hitch. Break up Lauren and her boyfriend, done. Cause dissension among her friends, done. It's when she comes to beating out Lauren in the school play and getting her kicked off the cheerleading squad that Helen's conscience starts to get in the way. Innocent people are becoming involved, and Helen doesn't feel as good about her revenge as she thought she would. GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD started out slowly. But Ms. Cook develops the story at just the right pace for the reader to decide if they are rooting for Helen or feel sorry for Lauren. It was refreshing to see the popular girl get her comeuppance without that "all's perfect in the end" wrap-up. But to be honest, it was the secondary characters that I found the most appealing with this story. Lauren's sidekicks, Bailey and Kyla, weren't just two-dimensional characters taking up space. Helen's friend, Brenda, also develops her own backbone as the story progresses. And Christopher sounds simply delicious. I'd almost like to see a follow-up book with these characters - getting revenge has never been so much fun!
Omg i luv this book it is an amazing book .It inspired me like if your thinking about reading it and your a teen or a tween go for it.Like i wish i was still reading it .I hope her other books are this good.
I absolutely luved this book!!!!! It was the BOM!!!!! I bought this book and waited to read it after i finished the other one and it was amazing that i finished it very quickly. Im not a big reader but this book is undescribable!!!!! I recomend it to everyone who likes drama!!!!! Its worth every penny and minute of reading it!!!!! 5 starz!!!!!
This book is sooooo goood!!!I hate reading but after reading a few pages in this book i waaass soooo hooked!!!! Definetly 5 starzzz!!!!
I loved this book. My friend reccomened it to me and i couldnt put it down. I was 12 when i read it the first time and i re- read it when i was 13 and it was fine. A must read for all teen girls!
It is appropriate for 113 year olds trust me i am 13 :)
This book was so awsome I want to read this book again! I LOBE THIS BOOK
this was a cute book. i just wishh i could do that to someone in particular but i think helen is a pretty cool chick, just misunderstood. the only thing i didnt like about this book was the ending, it just kinda cut off and didnt explain much. obviously helen and lauren had some problems with eachother but the ending didnt really elaborate on their broken friendship or fix it which was really annoying but oh well, i really liked this book. you should check it out
I loved it. I recomend it to teens :)
Good book, but kinda graphic?
Originally posted at: www.aurorareviews.blogspot.com ***** Has anybody you thought was your best friend ever done anything really awful to you? Have you ever been tempted to get even? I sure have. Helen and Lauren did everything together. They created their own Nancy Drew Club and did their own sleuthing (not very successfully), they shared candy, went to the mall and hung out and were BFFs (Best Friends Forever). However, when it was time to move to high school, Lauren did something so bad that it caused everyone in school to hate Helen because they thought she'd done it. Ms. Cook does an excellent job of reminding you what it's like in school and how badly you can be emotionally scarred by someone's words or actions. Children can be cruel, and this story demonstrates that. Helen is shocked and finds it hard to believe Lauren would use Helen as a stepping stone into high school and popularity. Helen's family is non-traditional. Lauren's family sets goals for her. The girls' characters are defined by their families and friends, just like it is in real life. After spending three years in New York, Helen returns to her hometown for her senior year, staying with her grandmother. She decides to reinvent herself and get revenge on Lauren. It's fascinating to watch her begin her plan with only an outline and then see the pleasure she takes by seeing thing go wrong with Lauren. Then she begins to be conflicted with what she's doing and how it changes her basic personality - not for the good. She's been led to temptation and has started down the thorny path, will she continue to the end? As you read about Helen's torment over the issue of revenge, you'll keep turning the pages and trying to decide how you, personally, would like the story to end. This author's knowledge of young people, their emotions, and their interactions with other people their age creates a very authentic story with a storyline that covers all sides of the issue of revenge. I'd recommend this to any family with teenage children.
I started reading this book and I thought to myself, I don't think I am really going to like this book. I was reading it for a review so I kept at it and then I started to like it. It's not a great book by my standards but I thought it was a really good book. Revenge books are tricky, I have a motto for these books. "Revenge only gets you dead" (Hamlet, Moby Dick are my top revenge books and the main character dies) In this case it almost makes Helen's life worse off than if she would have just let it go. The one thing with this book is that Helen learned a valueable lesson in the end and came out a little better than before. I think I liked the secondary characters in this book a bit more than I did the main characters. Lauren's character was shallow which she is suppose to be, but she just irriated me. I just couldn't see how Bailey and Kylie stayed friends with her. Helen/Claire though she didn't want to admit it was turning into a type of Lauren and was a bit irritating at times. I mean I really wanted to reach into the book and smack her and tell her to 'snap out of it'. I do think there is a great lesson to be learned for teenagers in this book. Don't let others dictate your life. If you want to get revenge on someone who hurt you, then be a better person than them. Live your life better with your head held high. It is only fun to the bullies when you let them defeat you.
What teenager doesn't want to get revenge on someone who has wronged them? The game of popularity is more like a war, and when Lauren Wood throws her best friend Helen under a bus in order to rise to the top of the cheerleading pyramid, she gets exactly what she wants. And losing her lifelong friend is the cost. But what about Helen? The other students aren't likely to believe the truth, so she's thrilled when her parents move her across the country. Three years later, she has to come back, but she's got a plan. And there's nothing more delicious than revenge. Or is there? Once again, Eileen Cook amazes me with a realistic and funny storyline and characters with just the right mix of devious and heartfelt natures. I'll be reading it again and again!
Cook, E. (2010). Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood. New York: Simon Pulse.261 pages.Appetizer: Helen and Lauren were best friends. That is until the end of eighth grade, when Lauren betrayed Helen to launch her own plan to become the most popular girl in their grade. Left behind and bullied by the entire eighth grade class, Helen is lucky when her family has to move to New York for her ninth grade year.But not a day goes by that Helen doesn't think about their lost friendship and Lauren's betrayal. So, when Helen learns that she may have to move back to Terrace, Michigan to live with her grandmother for her senior year, she concocts a plan to finally get the revenge she has been craving.Helen (who'd lost some weight and had suffered through a broken nose, both altering her appearance) returns to Michigan and begins going by the name Claire, working to become popular so she can better destroy Lauren's perfect life. As I was reading Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, I was strongly reminded of the movie Mean Girls. The premise is very similar, with an outsider coming in, gaining popularity to destroy a mean girl, using people and potentially losing sight of who they are and why they did what they did. Blah. Blah. Blah.I'd even say the execution of Mean Girls is better, mostly because of my main problem with Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood: Helen/Claire's characterization.So, even after Helen/Claire leaves the state, she can't let go of what Lauren did to her. She remains an outsider at her new New York school and stalks Lauren through Facebook. Then, when she moves back to Michigan, with only a bit of research and after spending hours thinking about what makes a person popular and making a popularity scale, she is suddenly an expert on popularity, clothes, designers, hairstyles, etc. She returns and is suddenly the queen of manipulation, with only the occasional pang of guilt. But, no. No, no, no, no. Her parents couldn't be scientists. Because that's part of the premise of Mean Girls (zoologists).Damn, I'm gonna go watch Mean Girls.(I watched it a record four times while reading through this book)I had a lot of trouble with Helen/Claire's sudden and complete understandings of the high school and fashion worlds. I needed a reason to believe that Helen/Claire could somehow gain all this knowledge into how to analyze groups of people and their behavior. I found myself wishing her parents were anthropologists instead of hippies. Then I could suspend my disbelief.Plus, when Helen/Claire's character evolves, I didn't quite understand what was triggering those changes either. I also had trouble with this book because of how stalkery Helen/Claire is. It doesn't end with facebook. Once she's back in town, Helen/Claire's antics involve sabotaging Lauren's possessions and breaking into her house.Stalker! STALKER! STALKER!I hadn't planned to have to drag out my stalker scale so often. But I'm quickly learning the difficult lesson that stalkers are EVERYWHERE in YA literature.Because of the stalker elements and my trouble believing Helen/Claire's characterization, I was left feeling that Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was pretty so-so. Having said that though, I can see how the book provides some happy escapism for teen girls who weren't popular or who were bullied.Also, Eileen Cook and I have something in common: We both graduated from Michigan State.Go green! Go white! Or whatever.I wasn't there because I was a sports fan. (Although taking pictures of the riots after games was a surprising good time. And now I can say, "Yes, yes, I have been tear gassed." Thank you, MSU!)Dinner Conversation: "Last night I dreamed I dissected Lauren Wood in Earth Sciences class. She was wearing her blue and white cheerleader outfit, the pleated skirt fanned out and the sweater cut right down the middle. She lay there, unmoving, staring straight up at the ceiling tiles. She was annoyed. I could tell from the way her jaw thrus
GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD, by Eileen Cook, was high school revenge at its worst (and best). With healthy doses of bitchy-ness and secret identites, this book is the ultimate rule-book for female payback.This book took girl-revenge to a whole other level. Lauren Wood, former best friend of Helen, made a complete mess of Helen's last few weeks of eighth grade, and Helen never forgot it. When Helen moved back to town, her detailed plan to take down all that Lauren cared about was in full swing. Helen, as Claire, targeted all the things that she thought Lauren couldn't live without, and took them out hard. Helen was such a great character. She was a little obsessed with Lauren, but I think middle school and high school years can really make or break someone, and Helen wanted her vengeance. And Lauren was the epitome of high school royalty. She was the most liked and feared girl, and a worthy opponent for Helen.While reading, I had a flashback of the movie, Mean Girls, and the striking similarities both this book and the movie possessed. In both instances, a girl wanted revenge on a popular girl and chose to *take out* her prized objects. But along with the similarities, there were unique differences that made this book its own. For instance, Helen already knowing the high school popularity rules and playing them like a violin. I enjoyed the ride that Cook took me on in the quest for Helen to exact her revenge, and I liked the lessons that Helen learned in the process. The presence of karma was always in Helen's mind but most of the time she persuaded herself that she was performing a service to those affected by Lauren. Helen really learned through this process who she was and who she wanted to be, but to actually create that life for herself was quite difficult. Each chapter furthered the suspense in the final act of how Helen was going to take down Lauren. I laughed and cringed while reading, hoping that Helen would make it through unscathed since her budding friendship with Brenda and relationship with Christopher was hanging in the balance. This was a fun and unforgiving book that did not hold back anything in the pursuit of creating "balance" against evil.
Helen is funny as hell! Sometimes she strays a bit too close to being unlikable, but then her wit redeems her (and cracks me up).
With high school looming on the horizon, Helen wasn't worried. She has her best friend Lauren and that's all she needs. Lauren had other plans. She wants to be popular so if that means dumping her best friend and spreading terrible lies, so be it. But for Helen it revenge!I really loved this book! I try not to start off my reviews by saying that but I had to! It was a witty and intelligent tale of what revenge and popularity can do to people. It was also scandalous but still had a great message in the end.Lauren was definitely one of those girls. You know, we all had one in high school. The one girl that just makes life a living hell for you. There's a little of Helen in all of us I think. The only difference is Helen goes out and gets her revenge. She doesn't just sit around and think about it. If you are not sure about reading this book, then read it just for the revenge tactics that Helen uses. They are genius! I would have never thought of them in a million years but they would work perfectly on any mean girl.Overall this was a fun quick read that I recommend to everyone that didn't like high school. I will definitely be reading more by Eileen Cook.
At the end of eighth grade, Lauren Wood humiliated Helen Worthington so completely that Helen¿s social life would have been obliterated had her family not moved away. Helen spends all of high school hating her ex-best friend and tracking her every move. When given the opportunity to move back to town with a new name and look, Helen realizes this is the perfect time to enact her revenge on Lauren Wood. Helen¿s revenge will be so utterly thorough that Lauren will be ruined forever, and Helen relishes the thought.As Helen slowly realizes, however, some parts of revenge are remarkably easy, while others are much more complicated. Helen¿s hatred of Lauren has driven her for the past three years; does Helen even know who she herself is anymore? What happens if getting revenge on Lauren Wood doesn¿t turn out to be all that Helen has longed for?GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD is a surprisingly engaging read, the classic tale of revenge translated perfectly into the modern high school setting of popularity and backstabbing. With swift, smart writing and a plot that¿s never boring, this book is perfect for anyone who loves the movie Mean Girls and/or was floored by the way that Alexandre Dumas set up the intricate and unbeatable revenge plan in The Count of Monte Cristo.I love when authors successfully write ¿mean girls¿ who are realistically a pain in the butt and/or whose actions are justified. Helen¿s perfection (and hilariously accurate analysis) of popularity hits all the right notes, from the stinging one-liners to carefully sown seeds of destruction. We all know the character of Lauren Wood, that nasty bee-yotch who deserves to be brought low by the hands of an avenging destroyer. Helen is scarily perfect for that job, the everygirl who¿s resourceful and determined to the death, and yet I loved that she also learns a few things about herself along the way.If your preconceptions about this book are that it is a fluffy chick lit read or a typical addictive-like-candy mean-girl story, well, I hate to break it to you, but you¿re wrong. GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD is a bitingly entertaining novel with bold characters and an even bolder plot. Indeed, if you love smart teen silver-screen classics such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls, you will get a kick out of reading this book. Vive le revenge!
I most likely wouldn't have read this book if it wasn't offered to me free. But the title was so blunt and the cover so funny that I couldn't turn it down. I went into this book expecting nothing more than your typical shallow chick-lit. The title and cover pretty much explains the plot. Helen and Lauren have been best friends their entire lives. That all changes at the end of eighth grade when Lauren betrays her best friend for the sake of popularity. Helen moves away and returns three years later with a new look, new name, and a new attitude. Watch out Lauren- Helen is looking for revenge. Despite myself, I liked this book. It's not winning any rewards and isn't particularly original, but it was fun. The best part of it was that it wasn't painful to read. Some young adult novels nowadays try too hard to sound like teenagers, but I didn't get that impression from this book. The characters are two-dimensional and stereotypical, but not unpleasant. It was also pretty clean- no swearing or sex. And of course the heroine realizes her mistakes by the end and does the right thing, proving some morals. This book was fun and undemanding, a nice little tribute to The Count of Monte Cristo.
She starts to cry.
So far me likey :)
I absolutely adored this book. The main character is really someone i think i can relate too in some ways, shes a bit of a nerd with films. The story plan is amazing though, its a typical story of two used to be friends but not in the same way. Lauren Wood, is Helen Worthington's old middle school best friend. Lauren betrays Helen to get to the top of the food chain for high school, We all have a friend who changed for high school. Another thing i liked was how they included bullying, it gives the story so much more realness to it. Its not alll rainbows and unicorns. The word use is very good and it matches what teens in high school would say, which i find to be a big facotr. The book isjust a wonderful read, that i think any teen girl in highschool would love.
A really good book about revenge.