Just Another Girl
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Date: March 28, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
You resent her. You can't stand her. You might even hate her.
But you don't know her at all.
Hope knows there's only one thing coming between her and her longtime crush: his girlfriend, Parker. She has to sit on the sidelines and watch as the perfect girl gets the perfect boy . . . because that's how the universe works, even though it's so completely wrong.
Parker doesn't feel perfect. She knows if everyone knew the truth about her, they'd never be able to get past it. So she keeps quiet. She focuses on making it through the day with her secret safe . . . even as this becomes harder and harder to do. And Hope isn't making it any easier. . . .
In Just Another Girl, Elizabeth Eulberg astutely and affectingly shows us how battle lines get drawn between girls -- and how difficult it then becomes to see or understand the girl standing on the other side of the divide.
You think you have an enemy. But she's just another girl.
I really wanted to like this more. While I never adore Eulberg's work, I do consistently enjoy her books. Her writing is fast-paced and her storylines are usually pretty cute. This is about two girls who both like the same boy (a storyline that never gets old). One is his best friend, and the other is his girlfriend. The idea behind this book is that you never really know what somebody else’s life is like. A girl can seem to have it all, but her world might really be falling apart around her.
While I appreciate the thought that you never really know what somebody else's life is like, I really struggled with the narration of this one--it was truly the epitome of tell vs show. Hope is and has been obsessed with her best friend Brady for years. She is a junior and he is a senior. She was convinced that they would finally get together once she started high school, but instead Parker moved to town and, before she knew it, Parker and Brady are a couple and Hope is still just the best friend. Of course she despises Parker for “moving in on her man.” I couldn't get over Hope's constant whining about the boy who has "friendzoned" her (and, yes, she uses that term), and how she needs to lose some weight. A teenage girl who is obsessed with her weight is one of my biggest turn-offs...or any person, really. Man, woman, boy, girl. I understand body issues; I do, but how tiring to listen to. In person or in books. I love books with dual/multi narration. When it is done well, it is one of my favorite styles, but Hope’s perspective starts this and lasts for the first quarter of the book. I was relieved when the narration switched to Parker. I was honestly about to DNF this book until the narration switched.
*Small spoilers in this paragraph, but this all happens in the first half of the book.* I liked Parker more, but found the drunk mean sister in the trailer park both annoying and unbelievable. I've said this before, and I will say it Every.Time. this stupid trope pops up: Living in a trailer park DOES NOT make you drunk trash who mistreats the people you are supposed to love and take care of. Parker feels guilty she has to depend so much on her best friend and on Brady, but she really doesn’t have a choice. She is counting down the days until she graduates (as a junior, as well, she has a while).
There are things that I liked about this. I love that Hope and Brady are into Rube Goldberg machines (those contraptions where a marble goes into a funnel, which pushes the fan button, which release the needle that pops the balloon...for example). I also really liked Hope’s friend Madelyn, Hope’s mom, and Parker’s best friend (whose name escapes me right now).
Overall, I was just disappointed. Again, I usually enjoy this author's work, and am bummed (especially after skimming the afterward where she said she's been working on this for five years!--I hate disliking a work that is obviously an author's baby). This might work for others more than it worked for me, and I'll definitely continue to be excited for new works from this author.