Monday, 13 July 2009

Review: Good Girls by Laura Ruby

Good Girls by Laura Ruby - Audrey is a good girl; she’s smart, she gets brilliant grades, she’s a good daughter and a great friend. But then someone takes a photo of her with Luke DeSalvio, the hottest guy at school, doing something the complete opposite of good, and it gets sent to everyone at school. Who took the photo? Why is she the only one who’s getting grief? And what will happen when her Mum and Dad find out?

This book is just so awesome! It takes a look at what could happen when something private becomes public and humiliating, but it’s also about friendship and misunderstandings. It’s a fantastic novel, with things kicking off right from the beginning. Audrey has been “hooking up” with Luke for around two months, but she decides to end it. He’s a player, and he’s only after one thing, and Audrey’s not so sure she wants just a casual thing, so she ends it. But not until after she performs oral sex on him at a party, and someone sneaks in and takes a photo. Everything goes downhill from there. Because everything happens at the beginning, I can’t really go into the plot any more without spoiling it.

This book deals so well with its sex scenes. There are flashbacks throughout the novel to Audrey’s sexual encounters with Luke, and they are fairly graphic, but are maturely dealt with, and as it’s first person, all from Audrey’s perspective. There is a really believable scene which describes Audrey’s first encounter with Luke’s penis where she is completely curious. We also get to read about Audrey’s first time, another believable scene, which shows Luke behaving quite maturely, in my opinion.

There is also a fantastic chapter called Duck Billed Salad Server where Audrey visits a gynaecologist, which sounds like it could be a verbatim transcription of an actual gynaecologist’s consultation, which would be brilliant for any teenagers who don’t know what happens. Nothing is left out, we have the whole visit; I think it’s fantastic.

“I realise something. If every teenager had to have this exam, if guys had to have some giant duck-billed salad server shoved up their butts on a regular basis, if every high schooler had to hear the words WARTS and GENITALS and CANCER in the same freaking conversation while wearing nothing but a couple of napkins, no one would ever have sex again, and that could be the whole point.”
P 167 – 168
There’s another brilliant part where Audrey discusses how you’re told to wait until you’re married, or you’re told to do everything, sexually, for guys, because that’s what they want, but:

“No one ever talks about what girls want, because we’re not supposed to want anything, not really. No one talks about how hard you have to fight yourself sometimes. No one tells you about how the want gets in your blood, eating everything in its path, how every time you here a certain name, or see a certain face, the cells divide and multiply and you are just. so. hungry.”
P 253
This book does. It’s an awesome book, really brilliant, and such a emotional book. There were times when I almost cried because I just felt for Audrey so much. A brilliant book, everyone should read it! Another favourite!

Luisa's Thoughts:

As a reader: I absolutely loved this book. I found it a riveting coming-of-age story with a fascinating focus on the external influences on every girl's sense of identity.
As a parent: This is an essential book for all teenage girls who have ever judged or been judged by their peers.
As a writer: I really admired the way the sex scenes were written. They were realistic and detailed without being at all gratuitous.

Published: 2006
Publisher: Harper Collins
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on The Book Depository - free shipping worldwide
Laura Ruby's webite

Other Reviews on Good Girls:


  1. Fantastic review, Jo, and I love the extracts you picked out, especially the second one. (The first one I'm only less sure about because I think these things are very different in the UK. In fact, I've been quite shocked by the accounts of gynae visits in both Good Girls and Giving Up the V - but maybe that's a whole different discussion topic!)

  2. Thanks, Luisa! Ohh, I didn't know that. I've not, err.. had the pleasure of visiting a gynaecologist yet, lol, so I didn't know things were different.

  3. Well, that's just it, I think - we don't tend to visit the gynaecologist in this country under normal circumstances. We have Well Woman clinics filled with kind, gentle female nurses - usually! It's like the scene in Screwed, in fact.

    Sorry, I hope you don't mind me bringing this subject up, it's probably not relevant to the discussions at all! It's more of a cultural difference, I suppose.

  4. No no, it's fine! It's interesting! I'd never really thought there might even be a difference. Shows how much I know! :)

  5. Ooh I need to read this soon. It sounds really good!

  6. It's AWESOME! I'm sure you'll love it! It's stuck with me!

  7. I should read this. It sounds brilliant. I have absolutely no idea what happens when you visit a gynaecologist. I think that in the UK, in Sex Ed lesssons, we talk about how to prevent having children and who we can seek help from if we are pregnant. However, I don't think we really address what will happen when you become pregnant. It's usually something as simple as nine months later you have the baby. We don't talk about regularly visiting the doctor or going for a scan. It seems that we miss out all of the emotional stuff such as the bond that you will feel with your child in nine months time.

  8. Oh, Audrey doesn't see a gynaecologist because she's pregnant, it's just to get herself checked out, make sure she's healthy. But it is such an amazing book, I'm sure you'll love it!

    On the topic of Sex Ed though, it has always annoyed me that I never had it. I went to a Catholic School, and because they promote no sex until marriage, they won't teach sex education - because obviously, we're all going to wait until we're married to have sex, in which case, there will be no need to know about STIs as we'll only be sleeping with our husband/wife, so nothing to catch, and no need to know about contraception because it's against God's will. Even if you're extremely religious, I think it's a little naive and kind of irresponsible to take this view. It's obvious teenagers are having sex, and they need to be taught what's going on. I'd say you probably know more about sex than I do. But this is a completely different topic of discussion, lol.