Title: Rules for Being a Girl
Author: Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 7, 2020
It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .
Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright―and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.
But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?
When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.
But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies in the most unexpected people, like “slutty” Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.
Marin is a stellar student with a dream of attending Brown University next year. She has a crush on her young English teacher, who is also her advisor on the school newspaper. She becomes closer to the teacher, which leads to him taking things too far for a student-teacher relationship. However, when Marin complains about what was done, she is blamed for leading him on. She gets in trouble in many ways, changing the path towards her future.
This story was so realistic. I had a sick feeling in my stomach while reading it because I could relate to it. Unfortunately, this is an authentic depiction of what it’s like to be a girl. There are so many conflicting rules that girls need to follow: don’t wear too much makeup, but don’t be ugly; don’t eat too much, but don’t have an eating disorder; don’t be a push over, but don’t be too bossy. Boys don’t have the same kinds of rules that they have to follow.
The way that Marin stood up to a teacher reminded me of a situation that happened in my high school. There was a student who called out a teacher for behaving inappropriately, and that student ended up getting punished and blamed for speaking up. It wasn’t exactly the same situation in this book, but it had similar consequences. It’s a sad reality that this is the way these kinds of situations end up. Even though this story was really heartbreaking at times, when Marin was blamed for something that was done to her, it’s a story that needs to be told so that things can change.
I loved this powerful story.
Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
Have you read Rules for Being a Girl? What did you think of it?