When I found out the creator of The Bold Type had written a YA novel I just had to read it. (We pretend season four does not exist). I was immediately drawn to the concept of a book about four teenage girls, one of whom would become President of the United States. The reader doesn’t know who it is, and as the girls navigate their senior year of high school we are left wondering who it will be until the very end.
Star rating: 4 stars
Ava, CJ, Jordan and Martha have been friends since they were small children. Ava’s the budding artist who is working out what she wants to do with her life – follow her artistic dreams or a more academic field. CJ has everything she needs to get into a good college, but her terrible SAT scores are holding her back. Jordan knows she wants to be a journalist, and is looking to save their local park that means so much to the local residents. Martha has big dreams but her financial situation is not making choosing a college easy.
I related to Ava’s story a lot – she’s been struggling with depression since her freshman year and also has anxiety. Her story focusses on whether or not she will attend art school, and also explores her desire to find her birth mother (Ava is adopted). I liked Ava’s relationship with her adoptive mother – the two don’t always see eye to eye but they work through their problems together.
CJ has been told she’s a gifted student her entire life but her SAT scores say otherwise. She dreams of Stanford but knows her chances are slim. Her story focusses on her volunteering with disabled children, and the friendship she develops with Wyatt, the co-ordinator there. I related to CJ coming to terms with being average, it was really moving for me to see her learn to fail at things and see her put her whole heart into everything she does.
Jordan is really passionate about the truth and is really determined to stop the local park being turned into an office block. She interviews the councilman’s assistant, but their relationship starts blurring the boundaries of professional as Jordan has lied about her age to be taken seriously. I liked Jordan’s story because she learns that she can’t grow up too fast, and has to trust that she has what it takes to be a successful journalist.
When Martha’s parents divorced, she ended up living with her Dad who is struggling to find work after a motorcycle accident. Her story focusses on her exploring her sexuality, and working out how she is going to pay for college. I actually really loved how Martha’s story ended up working out, it was really satisfying. Her mother made me so angry though – she made things so difficult for Martha.
The character that ties all four friends together is Logan, Jordan’s ex boyfriend, Ava’s sworn enemy and a feature in all of their lives. From the beginning, it is assumed that the girl who ends up with Logan becomes president. This was my least favourite aspect of the book – it felt like it took away from the girls and their achievements by having the plot rest on their relationship with this boy.
Despite the issues I had with Logan, I really enjoyed this book. I loved how strong the friendship was between the girls, loved the diversity, and found the twist at the end very interesting! Overall, an interesting concept that ended up being well executed – I can imagine a The Bold Type but for young adults TV series based on this novel!