Bad Girls With Perfect Faces – Lynn Weingarten

61qmmo2b6uxl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Bad Girls With Perfect Faces is the second book from Lynn Weingarten. The first book, Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls never really appealed to me but when I read the synopsis I was instantly intrigued. I picked it up on my birthday weekend and ended up reading the whole thing in a couple of hours in a waiting room.

The story follows Sasha and her best friend Xavier, who is trying to get over his toxic relationship with now ex-girlfriend Ivy. Ivy is your typical beautiful, perfect, manipulative character who is hell bent on getting what she wants. When Ivy reappears and persuades Xavier to give her another chance, Sasha knows she needs to do something to convince him Ivy is dangerous. In this media age it has become more and more easy to become tangled in somebody else’s life, and thats what Sasha does.

It’s told mostly from the first person viewpoint of Sasha and the 3rd person narrative of Xavier, however there are unnamed sections in between. There were so many times when I thought I knew what had happened, who had done it and who was talking. I changed my mind so many times and still didn’t get it right.

The pace builds slowly, like a stoking a fire, but when it really gets going it rages out of control. There’s so much to love in this book. It made me sit and think about how you can never really know who somebody is or how they’re going to act, and I thought about how we just fill in the blanks with our assumptions, and how that can go so wrong. The book touches on depression and mental health, and actually asks a lot of existential questions about how we should live our lives. It exploits a lot of moral grey areas and you have to ask: and what point would you have stopped helping your best friend? Who is in the right? Is anyone ever really innocent? There’s so much you can get out of this book.

It really made me reflect back on when I was a teenager and my relationships with my best friends. Although the way we present our relationships to the world has changed, how we feel about each other and the pressures of growing up really haven’t, and I think about this whenever someone says that YA isn’t for adults. What young adults are reading and experiencing now, people like me in their 30’s are reading and reflecting on and I don’t think there’s as much of an emotional gap as people believe.

One thing that bothered me is the prevalence of the use of drugs and alcohol. They’re 16/17 and there’s no voice saying you shouldn’t be drinking or doing drugs. I know that teenagers push the boundaries in terms of experimentation but it’s just, normal. It’s easy to see why young people get mixed messages when doctors give them drugs to help with everything then tell them they can’t use recreational drugs, or alcohol until they’re 21. But that’s another story.

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Me And Mr J – Rachel McIntyre

512fcn0cb0l-_sx324_bo1204203200_I really loved this book! It’s a brilliant story that shows the isolation that some children feel, and the way they become vulnerable to those who are in a position of power. There is the saying that it takes a village to raise a child and I think that shows here, if every adult in Lara’s life had taken an interest in her in a responsible way then it should never have come to her putting her emotions into an unhealthy attraction.

I felt the issue was dealt with really well, and the ending was the only way it could have ended – it’s a good lesson for those who think that crushes on teachers always stay innocent. I think it deals with the ‘he loves me and age doesn’t matter’ vs. the ‘she led me on even though she’s a child’ scenario really well and seeing it only through Lara’s eyes makes it all the more devastating; I constantly wanted to scream at Mr. Jagger!

It puts forward all of the debates and arguments about bullying and its emotional effects, but also how the modern world affects the choices teenagers feel they have about solving them because of what they see in the media.

It’s a controversial read, but very compelling.

Reviewed for Electric Monkey