Sarah Strohmeyer’s first novel for teens, Smart Girls Get What They Want, is jolly good fun. I’ve been a fan of Strohmeyer’s ever since I read her first Bubbles novel over a decade ago. It’s been my goal to get my hands on every novel she’s written since. Strohmeyer has an easy writing style that makes all her books just a darn good time. (And on a personal note, she’s an exceptionally nice person).
Smart Girls is about Gigi and her two best friends, Bea and Neerja, who are three of the honors students in their high school. These three best friends are so dedicated and focused on good grades and getting into the Ivy League, they forget to have the carefree time that high school is all about. Determined to not let just their academic achievements define their high school years, the three set out to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. Neerja auditions for the school play to get closer to her crush; Bea joins the skiing team despite her attorney parents fear of her getting hurt; and Gigi puts aside her fear of public speaking to run for Student Representative for the School Board. Along the way, Gigi attracts the attention of the cute new boy and a jock she’s known since kindergarten.
I found myself identifying with Strohmeyer’s heroine more than I thought I would. I was an AP/honors nerd in high school and so were most of my friends. Only I never dreamed of the Ivy League (too out of reach for a Utah girl) and instead just dreamed of getting a scholarship to a state university. I identified with Gigi feeling invisible to the rest of her classmates who weren’t in her classes and how she was surprised that two popular girls would feel snubbed by Gigi as well.
I liked the book’s message of how a girl should never stop being who she is to find someone to like her. Gigi firmly believes that she should never dumb herself down for a boy even when everyone is telling her that boys don’t like smart girls. I’m glad that Gigi stays true to herself while also expanding upon her strengths to improve who she is at her core.
I really enjoyed this book and what a good role model for smart girls Gigi and her friends are. This is definitely a book I’ll have my daughter read once she reaches those teen years.