So there’s a blond girl who loves pink, eats barely anything so she keeps her figure and has a 2 hour daily skin regimen who just happens to have a personality that’s somewhat lacking. There’s another girl with greasy black hair dressed in black sack-cloth and black “clumps” on her feet who’s shunned by most folks so she’s shied away from people, but is considerate in her own way. Both are best friends and one is going to the School of Good and the other is at the School of Evil. Guess which one is going where.
The stereotypes are like blunt-force traumas. Ok. I get it. Beautiful people = hideous personalities and if you’re not the blonde princess type then you’re a good person. Nothing new here. Also the characters and the school descriptions are so over the top with what good looks like/evil looks like that most of the book left me hoping for something more interesting to happen. It’s making me wonder why it’s so popular and makes me question whether these girls have any redeemable qualities we look for in strong female leads (something I’m always looking for). There’s also a tendency to sexualize the characters who are fairly young. While it is a societal fact that kids are having sex younger and younger, I believe it’s an author’s ethical responsibility not to normalize the behaviour.
As I read it I kept thinking so help me if yet another character mentions skipping breakfast as a weight loss scheme; I don’t think I should be held accountable for my actions. While it is used to hammer home, again very bluntly, that the pretty are not so good, that the fact they skip meals makes them bad, it’s not a topic that should be casually bantered about. Superficiality, ok fine .. vanity and arrogance, sure, but eating disorders feels like it crosses the line with the author’s perfunctory treatment of the topic. It needed thoughtfulness, more caring, maybe even a bit more, dare I say it, bluntness that this is an unhealthy practice.
That being said, surprisingly, the last quarter of the book made me want to read the next in the series. All the things I disliked seemed to melt away with enough twists and turns to hint at a more complicated series-arching storyline that gives me hope it may turn into something more interesting. While the ending makes sense, it isn’t necessarily predictable, and for me that’s one of the best kinds of endings. I just requested the next one from my local libs, so I’ll let you know if it was a promise of better things to come or an aberration. (Note: a few weeks later I got the 2nd book and I couldn’t get through it. All the flaws in the first are magnified in the second)