Summary: Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars.
What’s a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. But she’s convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can’t always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for that satisfying ending.
My Review: I had a hard time liking this book at first. Reshma is a very unlikable character. She is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her top spot in school, including cheating, plagiarizing, and even suing the school. It was difficult to connect to someone like this, but eventually, I began to be intrigued by someone so vastly different than I am. Reshma has no friends and has a very skewed opinion about her fellow students, her teachers, and schooling in general. Her parents are not much better. Her dad lets her do whatever she wants and while her mom disapproves, she doesn’t do anything to stop Reshma.
It was truly fascinating to see the lengths that Reshma is willing to go to get what she feels she deserves. She definitely thinks very well of herself, and though she is obnoxious and I didn’t like her, it was refreshing to read about a teenager so sure of themselves and what they want for themselves. Her friendship, for the lack of a better word, with Alex was very entertaining. Alex is a great characters and I would have liked to get in her brain more. The book is written almost like a diary in first person narration, so you only see the other characters as Reshma sees them. It’s a shame too, because I would love to know some of their stories as well, especially why Alex lets Reshma hang out with her.
Reshma changes slightly toward the middle and end of the book. There isn’t a reason given for why, even she can’t explain it. She backs off on a few things and it bothered me because it seemed very sudden. She didn’t gradually grow and change through the book, so her change of heart seemed too pat for me.