I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book written by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno. It’d been on my TBR for a really long time and all the amazing ARC reviews that I’d read assured me that I would absolutely love reading Rules For Being A Girl. Needless to say, I kinda did…
Rules For Being A Girl is the story of a girl who believes she leads a perfect life – she has a boyfriend who’s a jock, her best friend is always there to support her, she’s got a perfect GPA, she’s sure she’s going to get into Brown in the Fall, and she loves her English classes and her teacher who she calls Bex. Well, everything was perfect until Bex kissed her. Everything comes crumbling down and she now sees her life exactly as it – imperfect. She now has to navigate her senior year without the people she trusted most and is often made to feel as if she’s the one who made the mistake. Throughout the novel, readers see Marin, the main character, and her dreams crash to the ground, but also see her get right back up on her feet and make her voice heard. She finds new friends – people who believe her and accept her for who she is. She also starts seeing all the flaws in her so-called-perfect world and decides to stand up against all the sexism that she witnesses in a daily basis in her prestigious high school, thus the title of the book ‘Rules For Being A Girl’. In the end, she takes pride in the changes that have taken place around her and grows tremendously as a young woman ready to conquer the world.
I loved how this book managed to be fast paced as well as extremely detailed – it kept me thoroughly engaged. I felt as if Marin’s character leapt off the page and I could imagine myself in her shoes quite a few times. As a senior myself, I think of all the hard work that I put into achieving my goals and if my dreams were to be simply snatched away by someone who had no right to take advantage of me, then I would feel the raw emotions that Marin felt as well. Unfortunately, her story felt like one which probably takes place innumerably in today’s world and the thought that many teachers like Bex get away with their horrid actions because the young girls are too scared to come out disgusts me. However, this reason is exactly why the plot of this novel comes off as such a strong and important one. It gives hope to girls that like Marin, their voices too will be heard and the wrongdoers punished.
A feature that I really enjoyed was the creation of such dynamic relationships among the characters. They did not feel superficial and I could imagine them being real. For example, the connection that Marin feels with her grandmother is one that reminded me of mine with my own. I also quite appreciated how close and supporting Marin’s parents were. Finally, Marin’s best friend provided a different perspective and (spoiler!) eventually played a major role in the unfolding of events.
This book touched upon uncomfortable topics like sexism and racism and made me, as a reader, look at my own life from a different perspective. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wish I was as confident and strong as Marin when she stood up for what she believed was right. I obviously knew that the world I lived in was far from perfect but didn’t expect to discover just how imperfect it is. As Marin talked to her grandmother, I realized that not much has changed over the years and that women still have to walk that extra mile to be able to achieve what they truly deserve.
This book was extremely hard hitting and is sure to make you sit back and think about your own experiences. There’s this one article that Marin writes for the editorial board – ‘Rules For Being A Girl’ – that just talks about all the sexist social rules that there are for girls and how all of us get caught in trying to navigate our way through them. I think that this article, especially, is one that everyone who reads the book shall remember for a long time to come.
– Just Another Magical Soul
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