Book Review: Like Other Girls (Claire Hennessy)
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: May 25th 2017
Here’s what Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it’s even a song in the painfully awful musical they’re putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren’s arch nemesis.
Under it all though, Lauren’s heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she’s crazy and her best friend’s going through something Lauren can’t understand… so when Lauren realises she’s facing every teenage girl’s worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That’s all so much easier … right?
Ah where to start with this one?!
I guess right at the beginning, which would be the title. Plenty of people have ranted about the ‘not like other girls’ cliche that pops up a lot in YA and real life. The blurb admits it’s a problematic thing to say, but I don’t think it’s enough to just admit it. Lauren really annoyed me in her attitudes towards other girls. In one of the opening scenes, she describes the girls around her as either make up obsessed bitches or nerds. It’s such a stereotype and got my back up straight away. Girl’s school isn’t that black and white (trust me, I’ve been there).
Secondly, Lauren’s transphobia really put me off her. I tried to be understanding of her point of view, and I know it can be hard to understand when someone close to you comes out as trans (especially someone you fancied) but her attitude just sucked. I get that this was addressed in the book towards the end but I’m not sure it was enough. I appreciate that a lot of characters did call her out on it but she never seemed to see how awful she was being.
On to the pregnancy storyline. This was brutal. I know things work differently in Ireland but I have to say, I had no idea how bad it is. It’s insane to me that a woman can’t choose what happens to her body, especially in terrible circumstances (Lauren’s incest-rape thing being a prime example). This is such an important story to tell, especially with how things are in Ireland at the moment. This fictional account is heartbreaking, but it’s even more heartbreaking to think women are going through this in Ireland right now.
So, slightly conflicted on this one. Despite my problems with it, I did speed through it and it does deal with some important issues. I’m all for flawed characters, I’m all for unlikeable characters, but I think Lauren just wasn’t for me.