Friday, June 25, 2010

Embracing the Teenage Girl Stereotypes

I'm embarking on a much needed clean out of my room and as such I have come across a heap of books that I was obsessed with at a point in time. Did you ever read any of them? (I'm only listing a handful of the more recent series as they're more likely to be recognized.)

- The Clique by Lisi Harrison
You know, I could apologize for previously liking this, but I won't. In fact, I refuse. I am taking a definitive stand and proclaiming to all the internet: Yes, I was once a searching thirteen year old who believed that Hollister was the ultimate form of self-expression and The Clique was great literature. I will not hate on this poor former self who deserves better than sixteen year olds mocking her. Ultimately, you cannot justifiably hate middle schoolers; they may be somewhat annoying and seemingly shallow, but this is because they don't yet know who they are. So back the hell off and smile at the next one you see, even if they laugh at you for it. (Just don't invite them into your car for some candy because that is crossing all sorts of lines that should never be crossed.)
Basic synopsis: average unpopular seventh grader (Claire) moves in with rich popular seventh grader (Massie). Conflict ensues. Massie makes lame jokes with her rich, popular friends (Alicia, Dylan, and Kristen). Massie takes Claire under her wing; Claire becomes average popular-ish girl. Conflict ensues. Massie, whose parents inexplicably don't mind that she spends thousands of their dollars per week, buys a lot of clothes. Et cetera.

Here's a gem of an excerpt, taken from the first book in the series:

"'Heeeyyyyy,' Massie said, squeezing her friend.
Alicia took a long look at Massie.
'Ehmagod, you don't look like you were sick at all,' Alicia gushed. 'You look ah-mazing.'
'Just wait for tomorrow,' Massie said.
'Why?' Alicia asked with a sly grin.
'Because I get better looking every day!' they shouted in unison at the top of their lungs. They cracked up and high-fived each other."

You laugh now, but when I was in seventh grade, these were the bomb. So many instant messages (remember when AIM was cool?) simply read, "eh. ma. gawd. guess what???" or "omg!!!!! she is such an lbr!!!!!!" ("LBR" standing for "Loser Beyond Repair"). It got to the point where my friend and I actually made audition videos to be in the Clique movie (I never posted mine; she did). Those were the days.

- Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison
I think these are actually the funniest books I've ever read in my life. There's something so refreshing about reading a book that is unashamedly fun and doesn't try to force some Big Moral on you. They're a goodhearted laugh at the hilarity, frequent stupidity, and infrequent wisdom of teenage girls. I think the author explains it best: "The main character Georgia is really based on my experiences of when I was fourteen. I wrote the book to make myself laugh. I always wrote what I remembered making me laugh when I was that age. I didn't attempt to teach. I didn't attempt to do anything except I wanted Georgia to be a decent person. I wanted her to be someone who is a bit stupid and self-obsessed and difficult and funny and rude, and a bit jealous and all those other things. But I wanted her to have a good heart. " They're so British - partially real British teen culture and partially what I suspect is made up British slang - that it's hard to dislike them. They're easy to read and if you ever need something to cheer you up or make you laugh or just chase the boredom away, I highly recommend them.

- Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Recently made into a TV show that is surprisingly good. I didn't expect to like the show, but it's not your typical trash television. Alright, so maybe it caters to the teenage girl audience, but it's at least interesting and similar enough to the books that the mystery is still addictive and different enough that even having read the books it feels like a worthwhile show.
The books are also a pretty easy read, which I personally don't think is a bad thing. Not everything you read has to make groundbreaking observations about the world around you, right? Even though they have their fluffy "scandalous rich girl" bits, the mystery is gripping enough to keep you around for all eight books. I haven't read further than the fourth book, but after having taken a substantial hiatus from them, I think I'm going to have to finish the series this summer. I'm quite curious to know how they're going to end and who did what.
I'd tell you what they're about, but I don't feel like summarizing and if I tried, I'd probably spoil them. So Google it if you're interested. Just know that they're essentially mysteries (or rather one running mystery with tons of subplots) and are extremely addictive. And occasionally creepy.

As is typical for my life, I found the prettiest dress in the whole wide world which is of course sold out. I halfheartedly signed up for the build-hopes-up-and-tear-'em-down "Notify me on Restock" service, but given that Modcloth is a website compromised of independent designers, I'm not convinced the stock will ever be replenished. Luckily, there are a handful of other dresses that I would love to order, such as this one and this one and this one. Which one would you guys pick? I'm leaning towards the blue one as the second one looks like it may have a wonky fit and I'm not sure I like the embroidery on the last one. I may wait a couple more days before ordering, though, to make sure that there isn't another one I like better (they update fairly frequently and I really do like that sold out one the best) and I'm going to shopping tomorrow so I'll see if I can find one at the mall. (I'm not excited. I really hate the mall.)

As a sort of parting gift to you all, I leave you with this video, which made me smile somewhat manically for its duration. If you don't understand why the pretense is hilarious, I have no words for you. (Or just read the Youtube comments and all shall be revealed.)


Alex said...

I like the third one just because I tend to lean towards lighter colours and defined waists whereas the middle one just kind of skims down. The first one works well in this respect also but I'm iffy on the lacy bit around the sides. They're all rather pretty though. What's the occasion?

Alex said...

And by 'the first one works well in this respect' I mean the defined waist respect.

Alex said...

And by 'the first one works well in this respect' I mean the defined waist respect.

Vita said...

I see what you mean about the lace, that's the one thing I don't like about the blue one... mehhh. I also prefer lighter colors but I dunno, something doesn't sit right with me about the peach one. I think I may have to look for other options. Thanks for your help! :)

It's for a birthday party for a friend.

Rena said...

1, Okay, first addressing the dress thing (no pun intended...but by pointing it out it looks intended...moving on), out of the three available I'd pick the third, but I don't really like the lace-ish thing around the neckline. :/

2. The Georgia Nicholson books are fantastic.