I really didn't like this book. For a number of reasons. Plot
The protagonist, Reed Brennan, a girl from a lower-class suburb, is accepted and receives a scholarship to Easton, an upper-class, rich-kid prep school. Upon arriving, Reed easily sees she doesn't fit in; this school is much tougher than she'd thought it would be, and she's quickly flunking her classes. She has close to no friends, with the exception of her roommate. And the obvious class disparity plays a role in Reed's 'misfortune'
One day, she sees the Billings girls, students who live in the most elite dorm at Easton. The only way to get in is to be invited, and Reed wants nothing more than to be their friend, because they symbolize everything she never had.
Now, reasons why I don't like this book.Characters
Reed is awful
. Constance, her roommate, offers her friendship to Reed on several occasions, and is clearly one of the few characters in the book willing to do so. Yet, Reed blows her off, because Constance isn't in Billings, therefore not powerful, therefore undeserving of Reed's friendship.
And Reed mopes a lot. A lot.
If she's not whining about how she wants to be in Billings, she's complaining about not having money, how dysfunctional her family is, how she's failing her classes, how she has no friends, etc. She rarely ever does
anything to fix some of these problems- and believe me, most of her problems are very petty, and easily fixable- but Reed just wants to stare at the Billings lunch table and hope that her stalker-ish tendencies will win her some friends.
Her boyfriend Thomas is gross. He's an alcoholic/drug dealer/abusive boyfriend/an unfaithful boyfriend/basically an all-around douchebag. What makes it worse: he pushes Reed one day, causing her to hit her head and bang up her knee. She swears
, to both herself and her 'friends'
, that she wouldn't see Thomas again. But whoops
the next morning she just lets him into her room and immediately forgives him because he promised to go to rehab, despite the fact he humiliated her in front of everyone. In addition to: dealing drugs without telling her and then pretending to sympathize with her mother's addiction problems, getting her involved in his own family problems, making her feel guilty for not saying she loved him, etc.
The Billings girls are even worse. These girls have probably committed several crimes, but never get in trouble. Why? Because they're rich and/or pretty. That's it. They're cruel bullies, merciless bitches, and horribly spoiled. At one point, they demand that Reed go and steal the answers to Ariana's (the 'innocent' Billings girl) biology test within twenty minutes (or else they'd call campus security). Mean, right? But it gets better yet: Ariana doesn't even take biology. They made Reed do it because they were bored.
What kind of shitty friends do that?
Noelle is their ringleader, and clearly the worst offender. She takes it even farther by suggesting that Reed spike her history teacher's coffee with alcohol to get him fired, and she is later implied to have planted cheat sheets in her fellow dorm mate's room to get her expelled. She frequently verbally abuses Reed- and to an extent, Taylor, the nicest of the Billings girls, who is supposed to be Noelle's friend, considering she was willing to do all of Noelle's homework for the entire semester.
All the other characters didn't seem to play any major role, besides Reed's drug-addicted mother and passive father, but they never make a real appearance in the book.The Cover
I bought this book in paperback, since they almost never had it in hard cover at the book store. It's rather unimpressive, with three girls with neutral expressions on the front and a lone girl on the back leaning against a tree. I'm assuming these are supposed to be the Billings Girls, with Noelle, Ariana, and Kiran on the front, and Taylor on the back. It's an alright cover; the shiny title catches the eye, but the rest of it is not very appealing since it's all dull colors and generic models.
So. Those are the reasons I don't like this book. I was going to read the whole series, but after discovering just how many
books there (fourteen main series books with individual arcs, two prequels, and a spin-off series with six books), I decided against it. That's a lot of money to waste on a not-so-great series.