Reviews

Book Review: Story of a Girl by Grace Chikwem

“Sid Sullivan is just your average teenaged girl next door” – No One Ever! 

Sid excels at exactly three things: fighting, breaking noses, and getting into trouble. After her latest fight lands her in the emergency room, Sid finds herself getting shipped off to Llewellyn Academy for Girls. She begrudgingly agrees, with one tiny little adjustment to her mom’s perfectly laid out plans to get her through graduation. Instead of going to the prestigious all girls boarding school, Sid decides to pull off her craziest stunt yet and attend the neighbouring boys school. After all, how hard could it possibly be to pretend to be a pubescent boy?

Unfortunately, Sid finds out all too quickly that boys can be even cattier than girls, when she finds herself in the middle of a nasty feud between her good-natured roommate and two irritating brothers harbouring their own secret. With the fear of a fourth expulsion, on top of keeping her true identity hidden, Sid has to be on her best behaviour; a task she finds increasingly impossible with the many curve balls Lewis Academy for Boys keeps throwing her way.

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2 star

I received a copy of this book through Inkitt Exclusive in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the description of this book, I got the same impression I did when I had heard of She’s The Man a million and a half years ago. And because that movie is fantastic, I was super excited to get around to reading this book. I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, but I wanted to see what else could be done with a boy pretending to be a girl.

And the book was fine, but that was about it. It was entertaining enough, but there wasn’t enough to it to make it really stand out or feel particularly unique. I enjoyed it, but I’ll be surprised if I remember anything that happens in this particular book in a few months’ time.

The Good Points of Story of a Girl:

This is definitely one of those ‘everyone’s got a secret’ stories. And it’s interesting because a lot of them are interconnected and play off each other. We don’t get a ton of backstory for many of these stories, which I would have liked, but they were fun and it make for an interesting story line.

Sid is a great character. The author did an amazing job of balancing the feminine and masculine aspects of her personality, without sacrificing her badass attitude or the story line. It was really easy to root for her throughout the story, even if I thought she was mildly insane.

Despite using a lot of common tropes and clichés, it doesn’t feel particularly stale or unexciting. It’s still super entertaining and fun, and the author manages to keep it feeling fresh throughout the story.

The Downsides of Story of a Girl:

This book would change points of views without any indication it was happening. It’s written in third person, but it generally stays focused on Sid. But every so often it would change and I would be completely lost to what was going on.

While Sid is great, all of the other characters in the book are only distinguishable by name and gender. They all feel the same, and it was hard to tell who was who and how they were supposed to be different from each other, especially considering some were supposed to be more jerks and some were supposed to be nicer. We didn’t see a lot of this though, and were just told about it.

This book is pretty predictable and clichéd. It doesn’t really take away from the story, but it would have been nice to see something a bit more unique in a story that’s been done before.

There was an incident in this book where a couple of characters were removed from a situation for homosexual activity, and I hated that this was completely glossed over. Considering these characters had gay friends, I wanted them to make a statement or throw a fit, but they just let it happen and are like ‘oh well’. It’s a little thing, and maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion, but with the move towards better representation we’re seeing in this age range, I wanted to see something done with this.

All in all, this book was entertaining enough, but I wanted more from the story. If you enjoyed She’s the Man, like stories that play with secrets and lies, or are intrigued by boarding school settings, you’ll likely enjoy Story of a Girl!

Find Story of a Girl on Amazon Canada

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