Thursday, August 1, 2013


Title: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My smiley rating: 5/5


Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .


I think I’m developing a penchant for geek girl books…or more specifically books where the female lead is a geek. This book had me laughing from the first page to the last. I’m talking make-your-belly-ache, snort-through-your-nose laughter. The humor catches you unawares and makes the characters so much more lovable. The storyline is fraught with interesting tidbits and observations made by brainiac, Gigi, which added dimension to the story and depth to her character. For example: did you know the word language comes from the Latin word for tongue? Lingua. I sure didn’t know that.

The plot isn’t unique, but it’s lighthearted, concise, and fun with a really sweet and gratifying ending. Best friends Gigi, Neerja and Bea, aren’t airheads. Straight-A students with big dreams of Ivy League college, they thought they had their futures planned out. In some ways I could relate to their quest for the highest grades as I was also a student who excelled academically in my youth. OK, “excelled” might be a little bit of wishful thinking on my part, and maybe I didn’t excel per se, but I didn’t scrape the “just pass” rating with my bottom either…aaaaaaaand I’m digressing. Anyway, so, here we have three smart and quick-witted girls who, by discovering Neerja’s older sister’s shameful secret, realize that there is more to life than being top of your class and securing acceptance into an Ivy League institution, meaning, success does not necessarily equal happiness.

We had lives beyond high school, thank you very much. We had futures.

I loved all three these characters with their distinct personalities. Gigi, the daughter of two “bright individuals with negative bonding capabilities”, fiery-tempered Bea, an insomniac whose mind is kinda warped possibly due to her parents being lawyers; and Neerja, who can easily sleep through most alarms - even smoke detectors. These three girls have practically been joined at the hip since becoming friends in kindergarten, and their friendship is one I wished to be part of.

As far as YA romances go, I can safely say I’ve read every type of falling in love scenario imaginable…or so I thought. With Gigi and Mike it wasn’t insta love or a secret crush or instant attraction or anything like that. Both of them were accused of a “crime” and then forced to complete a project together to prove their innocence and learn to work together as a team. The thing is: Mike and Gigi are complete opposites and have virtually nothing in common.  Mike is a jock and Gigi an overachiever with zero interest in sport. Now enter stage left transfer student, aka money-flaunting rich kid Will, who also happens to be Gigi’s rival for student council representative, and Gigi’s world is turned upside down in an instant.  So, you can only guess where it went from there, but don’t expect sappy, doe-eyed romance. No, no, no. The author undoubtedly knew how she wanted to surprise and engage the reader with something a little different, and she executed it perfectly.

If it was up to me, I would quote the entire book as a “favorite quote”. Honestly, this novel is utterly hilarious and I blazed through the pages every opportunity I had to read. Smart Girls Get What They Want is a refreshing, delightfully clever feel-good read for us girls who proudly stand apart from the norm, but who love to be swept off our feet once in a while, even if only by a fictional character!


Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer has 376 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



After being placed on other "must read" YA lists, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT has recently been chosen by Texas school librarians for the 2013 Lone Star Reading List, a great honor since Texas is a BIG state. Thank you, librarians!
It's also my fourteenth novel, but my first for young adults after writing mysteries and stand alones, one of which, THE CINDERELLA PACT, became the Lifetime Movie - LYING TO BE PERFECT. Of all these, SMART GIRLS has been my favorite to write because not only was I a "smart girl," but so were my daughter and her friends who, like me, grew tired of playing second fiddle. I figured the time had come for our kind to receive the kudos, the attention and the boys. The bad girls had hogged center stage long enough.
Before I wrote novels, I was a newspaper reporter of questionable talent for twenty years, never quite serious or responsible enough for the duty of recording all the news that's fit to print. (My definition of what was fit to print and my editors' often clashed. Apparently, it was not necessary to describe certain cops as "super cute.")
Some novelists begin their careers by winning literary contests or writing their first manuscripts while pursuing a masters degree. I began mine by placing Barbie in forty contemporary and historical settings with photos taken by my friend (and awesome photographer) Geoff Hansen. BARBIE UNBOUND: A PARODY OF THE BARBIE OBSESSION became a cult hit, landed me on CBS This Morning and USA Today. It was, briefly, the most shoplifted book in America.
After that, I wrote the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series featuring a bubble-headed blonde ditzy - or is she? - hairdresser with a gift for gossip who becomes a newspaper reporter. Kind of like a memoir, sure. And then a bunch of novels about women.
Today, I live in Vermont with my husband, a lawyer, and son, Sam, an upcoming high school junior. My daughter, Anna, is a senior at Bryn Mawr College where there are A LOT of smart girls. Also, there's Fred, my five-year-old basset hound and between you and me, the love of my life.


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