Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Fun Pick: Girls Like Me
by Lola StVil
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Girls Like Me is a novel written in verse and a series of chat room posts. Shay Summers is a high school teen who has lost both her parents--her mother abandoned the family and her father died in a car accident-- and now Shay is living with her stepmother. Shay uses food as a crutch to help her deal with her pain and loneliness. Even though Shay has two good friends, she feels alone in the world. On a whim, full of teen angst, and bored, she answers an interesting post in a chat room.
Shay is surprised and delighted when the guy (?) responds and their posts to each other are fun and clever. The boy keeps pushing for a photo of her, but Shay is terrified to send him one. Then he will know she's not the beautiful, skinny girl she knows that he imagines her to be. Shay's self-doubt, body image and boredom make her a believable and loveable character that readers will empathize with. All teen girls struggle with doubt and questions like: Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Do people like me?
The social media aspect of the book drives the interchange between Shay and a mysterious boy she becomes enamored with. Readers are drawn into Shay's world and they see how funny and how beautiful she truly is. Godot (the boy) is clever and snarky. Together they are playful magic.
BFFs Boots and Dash are the type of friends every teen would want to have, but each has a huge problem/concern of his/her own. Boots is dying; she is handling it the best she can, but really, how can a teenager even think about not living to see 20 years? Dash is afraid to come out to his family; he knows that his father will not only be disappointed but he thinks his dad will never accept of forgive him.
The only drawback to this books is the cover! While it is true that readers like to read books with characters like them; that being said, girl or boy readers with weight/body issues are not likely to be excited about carrying around a book with a "curvy girl" on the cover and with the title Girls Like Me. One can only imagine the comments and bullying asides that would ensue.
Highly recommended for high school readers and collections. A fun read that touches on important issues.
Not recommended for middle school: talking about sex in the chats. Sexual and mature content.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.