It is immediately obvious that Gigi, Bea and Neerja are not only smart, but very focused and driven young ladies. Their lives are made up of school, friendship and family. There is little time left to worry about being popular, but when Neerja’s sister leaves for Princeton, the girls discover that all of that hard work left no time for anything else. What follows is a kind of mini-journey as these three accomplished friends try to reconcile their desire for bright futures with their desire for something outside of grades. After an incident involving a chemistry test, Gigi is forced to take on a project that thrust her into a limelight she’s not sure she wants. The pact that the three friends make puts them on a path to face their fears and ends up showing them that perhaps balance is a good thing.
There were several things that I loved about this book. For starters, I thought the way that the friendship between Gigi, Bea and Neerja was written was wonderful. They were so loyal to each other, but not afraid to call each other out, if needed. Their interaction really rounded out the characters and made them seem very real. These girls were smart, funny, flawed and the type of person I would want to hang out with if I was still in high school. Secondly, I loved the cognitive dissonance that was created when Gigi started realizing that perhaps she and her friends weren’t invisible as much as they were unapproachable. The contrast between their perception of their social status and what everyone really thought made all three girls reexamine the balance that they established in their lives. Your “real” life is the one you are living right now and Gigi discovers that she can find a lot of wonder and happiness in the people that are right in front of her while simultaneously looking forward to her future. I really understood their desire to get out of high school and get on with it, so to speak, because I remember feeling that way and I’m sure many others do, as well. I think that’s what made this book so appealing. Smart Girls was both funny and touching with a last line that left me laughing out loud. I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list!