Saturday, 13 May 2017

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 288
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 25th of May 2017 

Here's what Lauren knows: she's not like other girls. She also knows it's problematic to say that - what's wrong with girls? She's even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes's, her posh all-girls school, you'd feel like that too. Here everyone's expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it's even a song in the painfully awful musical they're putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren's arch nemesis.

Under it all though, Lauren's heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she's crazy and her best friend's going through something Lauren can't understand... so when Lauren realises she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That's all so much easier ... right?

Trigger warnings: Transphobia, Sexual Harassment. Abortion 

What I Have to Say 

Claire Hennessy likes to take on important issues, as she comes at it from a way that walks on a knife edge between being problematic and really showing how the issues work. In Nothing Tastes as good, this worked quite well. It would be very triggering for someone reading with an eating disorder, but as a book written to show readers what it feels like to have a eating disorder, it did it really well. 

Like Other Girls though, I think goes across the line on some issues. The transphobia really put me off. It horrified me completely and made me dislike Lauren as a character. Considering the ending, I kind of understand what Hennessy was going for, especially as Lauren and Evan have a lot of their own issues which somewhat explained the transphobic comments that Lauren was making and how much she didn't understand what Evan was going through. But I'm not sure it really made it any better. I don't think it was really addressed enough. 

The main plotline was obviously very important and I found it very emotional and interesting. It gave me the connection to Lauren as a character that I hadn't managed to find due to her transphobia, If the book had just been this storyline and there hadn't been the transphobic plotline then I think I really could have enjoyed it. 

I think this is an important book, especially being set in Ireland, but Hennessy just stepped over the line with what she was trying to show with the transphobia. I think it's good that she tried but it just didn't turn out well. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 

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