Title: Sad Girls
Author: Lang Leav
Published: May 30, 2017
Goodreads summary: Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.
School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad—the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?
Possible spoilers ahead!
I was looking forward to reading this so, I requested it from my library as soon as possible and finished it in a couple of days. Altogether it only took me a couple of hours, not including breaks, to finish.
I wanted so much for this book to be something raw and relatable like Lang’s proses, but I can’t deny I had a suspicion that wouldn’t end up being the case, that I was asking for too much. Apparently, I was. I kept in mind Sad Girls was Lang Leav’s first novel, but even that was enough to keep me from feeling disappointed and being critical.
Character development is lacking.
The main character Audrey is a well-off teenager and an only child, her biggest problem is her mother, they’re relationships has been strained since her mother left her and her father only to come back some years before the novel takes place. A reasonable conflict that most teens can relate to when it comes to their parents, but this plot point is only emphasized in the first half of the book, set up to seem like something could happen, but it never does. She also has an angst-based relationship with one of her two closest friends who spirals into drugs and there’s no real closure; her friend just comes back one day and is like, I’m sober and getting married, I’d like to invite you. I even have a headache just recalling this tidbit. Audrey has some amazing stroke of luck in landing an internship right out of high school at a magazine publisher simply because she knew the nephew of the Editor-in-Chief. Well, okay, but if I’m a prominent magazine with numerous rewards I’m not going to go off only on my nephew’s word; it’s unrealistic. I don’t get the sense of her doom. I don’t see the conflict she will have to overcome, making it difficult to choose what information to keep and what’s simply in passing.
None of the other characters truly left an impression on me. I had to make note of who was who with one-liners like: the “perfect” character, the “manager” friend, or the “most interesting” friend for a temporary love rival trope, but let’s throw him away for the old flame trope.
The plot was so vague my eyes could’ve rolled into the back of my head from how many times I unfocused from the book.
Going off the lack of character development I didn’t get any feeling of progression. I just couldn’t. I was being told more than I was being shown. So, point A was suddenly point C and I would miss point D and E if I wasn’t pausing to think. Many time I thought I could be more lenient and chalk it up to being Lang’s first attempt at a novel, but I think her writing is “stuck” in prose that it’ll be a one-eighty to change her style in her next novel, if she chooses to do so.
Name dropping hurts my soul (& setting)
At first I gave the brand dropping a pass thinking it was the beginning of the story and that’s where it’s always rough to step into a new world. I hate to say it ruined the rest of the book for not naming dropping other things, like social media. All of which is rarely mentioned which is strange because Audrey and her friends are young adults. Instead, this spoils to taste in my mouth about how they all communicate with a phone and much less with texting. Sure, not everyone has to use texting or Twitter, but you’d think if your drug addicted friend is missing some element of trying to find their Facebook account to see how they are would play a hand in your search. There was just- a lot of questions I had, and all of them curbed my enjoyment of the book. I had nothing but suburban New Zealand for a setting. I had to rely on cliches to make up the rest of the setting cause all I had were names I didn’t want to be bothered to look up to see if they were real.
All in all, I don’t recommend this book. It was a disappointment. My final verdict is that it’s easy-reading, but if you’re looking for substance you’re better off moving on. This book read as an indie movie plays; everything happens just to happen. I’ve put more time into this review than I wanted to so if it lacks anything it lacks anything.