Rules for being a Girl – Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

I’m not sure what I expected with this book and I’m not sure how I feel now. It reads like a young YA but the occasional F bomb makes me wonder where it really sits.  Don’t get me wrong – that four letter F word is relevant every time its used. It just fits.  And it needs it. But – I don’t know – Does that change the age grouping for a book these days?

In this book we follow teenager Marin, shes a good student, heading for university, her boyfriend is perfect and along with her bestie Chloe she co-edits the school paper. Both of them have a crush on their English teacher Bex. Hes younger than most teachers, more casual and also helps them with the paper. download

Marin really ‘grows up’ over the course of the book and the message behind the story is important about speaking up. Acknowledging its not easy, people wont believe you, they will judge you – especially in highs school but learning to stand up for yourself is an important life lesson that is shared here.

After Marins teacher makes a move on her she wonders if she was partially to blame.  She writes an editorial about the rules for being a girl in todays society. Whats expected of you and the unfairness of it all. This then becomes a feminist book club that really opens Marins eyes to some of the inequality in the world around her.

Gray is a great addition to the cast, a bad boy reputation that doesn’t quite match the support he gives Marin over the short space of time.

As characters most of them are likeable, Marin really grows as a person and the ending wasn’t what I expected and whilst I know we don’t all get our happy endings, I feel that the message here is almost like a warning (Spoiler ahead).

Be a good girl, don’t speak up and you get what you want.

Speak out, Rebel and you will be punished.

Personally I don’t like the fact that Marin doesn’t get her place at her university of choice. Shes been abused by her teacher, suspended because she acted out when no one believed her and the its acknowledged that said teacher is the reason she didn’t get in. That he had influence of the decision. So, when it comes out that she was not the only one, that other students at the school have suffered the same at Bex’s hand surely there should have been a communication with Brown? Even if in the end she decided not to go there.  The warning is there – speak up and lose the future you ve dreamt of through no fault of your own.    The other section that’s not really addressed is that Bex was removed from his previous teaching post for the same reason. IF this is the case how did he get a job at Marins school?

Despite that – I did really enjoy the book. I read it in two sittings (a return train journey to Crewe that at the moment is so quiet you have your choice of seat and it feels like a mini secure reading haven) and the feminist side of it did linger in my brain.

Categories book review, Fiction, Uncategorized, Young AdultTags , , , ,

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