Tuesday, 7 July 2015

How to Be Bad

We have left our families and their diseases and their worry and expectations. We left our school friends and our work friends and our jobs and our lives. We shook them all off to be here, speeding down the interstate, singing "Suddenly I See" in the dark.

Vicks and Jesse have been friends forever despite their differences. When Vicks is feeling insecure about her boyfriend moving away to college, Jesse knows just the answer, a road trip! But both girls, waitresses at the Waffle House for the summer, are short on cash. Their only option is to invite the new girl along, or did she just invite herself?

How to Be Bad is a fun road trip story about three girls who appear very different from the outside but bond over a few days on the road. Complete with mishaps, falling out and one break-in to meet an alligator. I liked the little snippets of Florida, as Vicks works through her book of roadside attractions, and it will put you in the mood for a road trip of your own.

I was really excited to read split perspectives written by different authors. On the one hand, their style is similar and the chapters mesh together really well. However I was hoping for the characters’ narratives to be more distinct. Their personalities are very different but their voices were pretty much the same, and on a few occasions I got mixed up about who was narrating.

Mel is the quiet, na├»ve rich girl who is new to town and doesn’t really have any friends. She envies the bond and easiness between Jesse and Vicks. She starts off a bit of a wet blanket, letting Jesse use her for her wallet, but soon she starts to come out of her shell and the other girls see her as more than just their ticket to Epcot.

This itsy-bitsy girl in designer flip-flops, who's scared to death of a stuffed alligator and who doesn't know a hurricane from a doughnut - she's throwing my own words back at me.

Jesse’s a righteous southern girl who frowns upon her mother’s behaviour and her best friend’s sexual relationship. It is hard to believe her and Vicks are so close at times, and Vicks certainly feels it’s been harder to share things since her relationship went to the next level. That’s why she started talking to Mel in the first place. Vicks is the glue that binds the group together.

Some of Jesse’s behaviour can surely be put down to the fact that her mother has recently been diagnosed with cancer. But instead of sharing her worry and sadness, she blocks out her friends. Every time one of them snapped at her, or vice versa, I just wanted her to say what the problem was. Instead she just makes everyone angry with her.

I think a lot of people will be picking this up because of E. Lockhart’s name. It’s an enjoyable book but not a patch on We Were Liars or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

How to Be Bad is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

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