Why did I make myself read this? Oh, it’s because I had the ARC and then proceed to wait until release day to publish my review of this.
Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno is about a high school senior, Marin who is on the perfect road to graduate and go to her dream university, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She has a best friend who is there for her, a boyfriend, great grades, and a great relationship with her English teacher who oversees the student newspaper Marin and her best friend, Chloe, manage.
Seems great right?
Everything begins to go downhill once a friendly offer to give Marin a ride home, ends with her going into her English teacher, Mr. Beckett’s home so he can lend her a book. Things are okay until Bex bends down and kisses Marin without a warning or hint. Startled, Marin runs home and begins to deal with the fact that her beloved English teacher tried to go outside of the boundaries with her.
This book was a whirlwind ride that I was hesitant about taking after I received my copy in the mail like a month and a half ago. I regretted my decision of entering that giveaway on page one. After skimming through the first 50% and getting to that awkward relationship, I started giving it a little more of a fair chance. Then I kept picking up on the oddities of this book and the off vibe it was giving me. Then the main character did something stupid and then got what she deserved. Then it all ended.
Did any of that make sense?
I didn’t think so.
Honestly, let’s burn this book to go with the cover. BURN BABY BURN! Sorry, I got ahead of myself. I really disliked the book, I might even go as far to say I hate it, heck, it might even be the worst book I have ever read! And I read Of Mice and Men and East of Eden within 2 months!
My overall rating of this mess of a book is 1.5 stars out of 5. There was not much character development. It felt more like a character shift in almost every single character. Marin goes from the teacher’s pet to this feminist who is discovering not just gender injustices, but to discovering all about racism and all sorts of other problems. I don’t know how to discuss this book without screaming at it and threatening to burn and rip it. Yes, it was that bad to where I will voluntarily commit book harm to this. The plot shifts from getting justice for the sexual assault/harassment a grown man (I believe he was said to be 30 years old) did to a minor, a 17 year old female student, to Marin becoming a feminist.
Later in the book, Marin finds out about racism and racial injustices that occur within her New England Prep School and in the world around her along with the gender injustices within her school through female members of a feminist book club she starts with a Chemistry teacher. Marin learns her grandmother went to the civil rights march and speeches when they were near their hometown, which I believe in Connecticut. Marin also finds out her school’s girl’s volleyball team does not get funding for bus rides to away games like boys teams like boy’s lacrosse. Before I continue, let me state, these are the only two sports teams the book talks about like there are no other sports. Also, I’m not sure how it is done in other states, but in PA, and I think in most places across the country, indoor volleyball is a fall sport (at my school, it’s girls in the fall and boys in the spring) and lacrosse is a spring sport, but in this book, they happen during the same time of year.
Once Marin starts learning or realizing about the injustices of the world, it only took one public shaming of a female student by the principal (male) she literally called slutty in the last chapter, did Marin start to feel bad and start dumping everyone including her best friend. This happens after she tried to confront the principle about Bex, (her teacher) and word gets out around the school.
The romance is forced. We did not need a romance. Marin just dumped a guy because she realized he was a dick. Then she dates Gray, who the summary claims he’s slutty, but I do not recall her saying it within the text and he NEVER acted slutty. Oh, and Marin’s little sister. Honestly, he was my favorite character. If the mom ever acted on her threats, then she would have gotten points too.
All in all, this book was about a spoiled girl with lots of white privilege and not realizing the injustices of the outside world. I would not read ever again.
If I had to recommend this book, it would be for people who are just starting to get into feminism. The authors constantly reference Bad Feminist by Roxane Gray which appears to be pretty controversial in the community after taking a glance through the reviews for that book. So building a book for teens around a book that is quite hated by many for overlapping reasons that are valid, probably was not the best idea.
Well now that is over with, I will give you my raw reactions as I read this book down below. If not, then I hope I opened your eyes in some sort of way, and if not, then I hope you had fun reading this rant review. Every review will not be a rant, but I could not let this roam freely since I won an ARC copy on Goodreads.
see you soon,
all gifs from giphy.com
- Seems like a smut MC
- Teens don’t talk like that
- NOBODY calls Whitney Houston ancient; what the heck; no one calls any sort of music ancient, IMMEDIATE RED FLAG
- Asshole males but also males are bad
- Too many pop culture references
- People don’t seem to think, they only turn their perspectives, even Marin and when she breaks up with Jacob and Chloe when she gets jealous
- The reader literally had no background for her breakup until she did it
- From “freaking” to “fuck”, what a shift in character in a matter of pages
- WHY DOES HEIGHT MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO FEMALE DESCRIPTIONS AND BACKS AND SHOULDERS FOR MALE DESCRIPTIONS?? WTF
- Lax bros aren’t dumb, just annoying, they can actually be pretty chill and smart
- Not every male is trying to flirt immediately, typically it’s just to make someone laugh
- “Yeah,” he sats easily. “I’ll be honest with you, Marin. I’ve been thinking I need a change.” He’s full of shit, clearly, but I smile anyway. -WHAT? PEOPLE CHANGE DURING SENIOR YEAR, GEEZ, YOU ARE CHANGING
- her character change is so dramatic within the span of 2-3 chapters
- little hints at gay and lesbian relationships is a .5 redeeming quality…nvm, two moms can still count as parents can it not?
- As a student-athlete, yes there are unjust things between each gendered sport, but to each sport their own. Every sport has basic funding for transportation. I have never seen unjust funding for sports. And you are telling me to think this is a New England Prep School with little funding in all of their sports? That’s hard to believe. Sure, boys volleyball games may be talked about more, but girls volleyball still gets support from our classmates
- “That’s not the point!” Gracie interrupts. “The other girls in my class…” She trails off. “They have boobs, and one of them has eyelash extensions. And I basically still look like a little kid.” You and me both Gracie, and I’m about to be a senior.
- One, Marin thinks the same don’ts she just wrote about, when it comes to her little sister, and two, she just contradicted her whole argument this far
- The plot isn’t even about her teacher anymore, it’s a fight against misogyny, but the changes in plot and character are so effing drastic
- random diversity issue plot point
- Why can grandmothers (or grandparents in general) have interesting and cool backgrounds
- WHAT? I LITERALLY CANNOT FATHOM THIS PARAGRAPH (insert picture).
- different races have different power levels (lobbying)
- CAN GUYS NOT BLUSH? yo, wtf is this book?
- “Are you, like, book club dad right now?” I ask, grinning as he passes them out. “Maybe,” he says. “Everybody needs to behave or I’ll turn this volleyball game around, et cetera.” I’m using this at my games, but when saying something funny or witty like this, DO NOT ruin it with the words et cetera. Literally ruined the fun moment.
- A kiss eh? No far off insight from the ex? A kiss after this all in a moment of joy after admitting single sided feelings? or does our MC also like Gray too?
- So, why is Gray the only logical person in this book besides our adult women? Even Marin’s dad sounds off.
- “Everybody at Bridgewater always goes for slices at Antonio’s on the last day of school before Christmas break…” same with my school, but obvi diff pizza shop
- Okay, understanding parents, but where is the real outbreak, come on, mom was about to explode but dad shut it down, wtf?
- so I get that she likes Mr. Beckett but why does she not understand, also someone obvi overheard Marin telling Gray about it
- AH a mom freakout let’s goooooo, shut dad up
- once again thank you gray
- a reset, bitch, I think the eff not
- Gram knows and is not letting her Alzheimers stop her
- another race conversation, let’s see how our MC handles this one
- OH THAT ASSHOLE
- OH YES, SCREW HIS CAR…really you wrote “scum?” That is hardly anything! UGH
- I got my fight. actually, I really didn’t
- so you guys name every other pop culture reference but not a single creepy podcast when it’s likely MFM (my favorite murder)
- okay Chloe is back to herself
- good, Gray is back, and they aren’t getting back together. It’s what she gets.