Publishers Weekly Review
After getting caught with her best friend's ex-boyfriend, Grant Powers, 17-year-old Kendall Evans starts her senior year at Brooklyn's private Howell Preparatory School branded as a "slut." Her best friend, Audrey Khalil, won't speak to her, while Grant is unscathed by the scandal. Kendall plans to keep her head down until she can escape to Rice University's accelerated astrophysics senior semester program, but she's wrongly accused of stealing "doses" from drug dealer Mason Frye. With help from fellow outcast Simone Moody and theater geek Michael "Gilly" Gilbert, Kendall sets out to clear her name and discovers that her inner "bad girl" may not be so bad after all. Kaplan's sharply written, twisty thriller, narrated by the savvy Kendall, deftly explores the shades of gray between "good" and "bad" and the freedom of self-acceptance and shines a light on issues such as rape culture, bullying, and enduring sexual double standards. This love letter to any girl who's ever been labeled "bad" will enthrall readers. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ali McDonald, the Rights Factory. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Kendall used to be a "good girl"-an honors student, math and science wiz, and a member of a trio of "it" girls at Howell Preparatory, an elite school attended by Brooklyn's upper echelon. Responsible, attractive, smart, and self-sufficient are all adjectives that would've been used to describe her prior to the day she got "caught" with her best friend's ex-boyfriend at the end of her junior year. Ostracized, Kendall starts senior year counting down the days until graduation. Just as she is beginning to settle into what she believes will be a year of scornful isolation, she is attacked by a mysterious girl in the school bathroom. To add insult to injury, someone has hacked her Facebook page, and Kendall suddenly is framed for stealing from a drug dealer. Blackmailed into partnering with the dealer to deliver drugs until she can prove her innocence, the protagonist embraces her "bad girl" facade in a wayward attempt to salvage her fractured reputation. This is a simmering, angsty take on the whodunit genre. Kendall introspectively wears the "bad girl" mask while grappling with what it means to be one. The delineation between good and bad characters is blurred, which makes for a great read and lively discussions about decision making and choices. Kaplan cleverly addresses sexuality, gender bias, identity, and rape culture in this page turner that is classic YA mystery with an undercurrent of sex-positive feminism. VERDICT Recommended for school and public libraries serving older teens.-Tamela Chambers, Chicago Public Schools, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Kendall's social life pretty much tanked after she had sex with her best friend's ex-boyfriend. She's on her own for the start of senior year, although honestly things could be worse she's been accepted into a prestigious astrophysics program that starts in January, so she only has to last one semester. Then Kendall is framed for stealing from a drug dealer. Mason, the dealer in question, doesn't much care that she's innocent, but is willing to let her off the hook if she finds the real culprit. To keep her future safe, Kendall has to play a part, and the more she acts like a girl involved with a drug dealer, the more she starts to enjoy herself. But drugs have consequences, and Kendall's about to find out just how far-reaching Mason's business is. Some stilted dialogue and one-note characterizations don't entirely detract from the effect of Kaplan's debut, which, more than anything, plays with how girls are perceived in society. An intriguing look at feminism in American culture and the price we pay for our reputations.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist