Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Released: June 26, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Gigi and her friends are smart. They work hard for great grades that will earn them spots in Ivy League colleges. They're only in tenth grade, but they've been working for this forever. But when they realize that their focus on schoolwork and smart stuff has earned them status as social non-entities, that some of their classmates don't even know they exist, they take a good look at their priorities. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja begin to take a more active role in high school activities and social life, and the things they discover astound them. Their preconceived notions about people, about life, about everything they think they know - all are challenged as they venture out into the big, wide world of high school.A really exciting ride, this book! Lots of twists and turns, lots of surprises - which fits for a book about how blind and ignorant such smart girls could be. They're definitely book smart, but they lack all fundamental knowledge of how things work, of what makes people tick, even of themselves. I love, though, that as clueless as they are, I still identified with them and felt for them right from the start. They're not bad girls, they're not hermits by choice, they just need an education. And boy do they get one!
The people who seem smart are not necessarily so, and vice versa. And people who think they like one person find out they actually like someone else entirely, for reasons that become clearer and clearer to the reader even as those people remain in the dark. And when the girls think they're being shunned, they don't realize that it's mostly their own fault they feel that way.
Then there's the aspect where the girls overcome their fears. Especially Gigi - the way she starts out vomiting at the thought of public speaking and ends up speaking fearlessly when it's necessary is so great, so indicative of her overall growth as a teenager instead of an Ivy-League-bound bookster.
Small point - I like the parent figures in this book. They're not too meddlesome, but I like that the girls have their parents to support them, even when they go behind their backs. Parents who are there and not in some emotional turmoil with their kids is rare in this kind of fiction, but in this case it allows the focus to be on the girls' social life without being eclipsed.
A really fun read with some deep, thoughtful moments...