The last few months have been a little crazy, but with summer here things have finally calmed down (well, kind of).
Last week I had a chance to read a new book, Girls Like Me by Lola StVil. I saw the book post on HMH Kids’ Instagram and thought I would give it a try. I’m so glad that I did!
Shay is an overweight 15 year old young lady. She is coping with the death of her father, trying to co-exist with a step mom, dealing with bullying by the Queen Bee (Kelly) at school, and working on making it to her 16th birthday. Like many teenage girls, Shay has a crush on the popular boy in school, Blake Harrison, but he doesn’t know she exists. Shay relies on her best friends, Boots (dying from a brain tumor) and Dash (the amazing gay sidekick) to deal with every day life.
Shay’s life completely changes when she starts talking to a boy from her high school online. Suddenly she is able to open up and be herself with Godot and begins to experience teenage love.
The structure of this text is very different from the traditional YA novels, it’s written in prose/poetry style! I will admit that there were a few parts that confused me because I couldn’t tell who was talking, but re-reading it once or twice cleared that up. Without the presence of paragraphs and dialogue, the reader is able to truly feel what Shay is writing. The first person narrative literally puts the reader in Shay’s head and feel her pain and confusion right along with her.
I was very similar to Shay as a teenager, and StVil’s writing was spot on. She was able to grasp the humor, drama, and fears of a 15 year old girl perfectly.
I’m currently teaching an Intro to Social Media class, and one of the topics we’ve discussed is how many teens’ lives revolve around technology and social media. This book is a clear example of this concept. Shay’s whole mood completely changes when she gets a message from Godot, and when they don’t message she is completely crushed. Shay’s enemy, Kelly, uses a website to bully Shay during the climax of the novel, further demonstrating how teenagers use cyberspace to live their lives.
Overall, this book is a fabulous quick read! I devoured it in about 2.5 hours in one sitting because I simply couldn’t put it down. I recommend this book for high school students because of the mature content and sexual references. I plan on suggesting this as a summer read for my high schoolers.