Title: How To Be Bad
Author: E.Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski
Release Date: May 2008
Retail Price: $16.99
Overall Rating: 7/10
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
” ‘Cause maybe sometimes a girl’s gotta be bad in order how to figure out how to be good,”
How To Be Bad, is a contemporary written by a collaboration of Young-Adult authors. When I picked up the novel at my local library, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to know either. I wanted to go and completely submerge myself in this novel without knowing anything, and after finishing it yesterday, I highly recommend you do the same. How To Be Bad is a journey and series of funny, dramatic and romantic events, that will leave you with wanderlust and an elated feeling in your chest. This novel will take you through a roller coaster of feelings and is filled with witty characters. How To Be Bad is for any chic-flic or contemporary lover.
This novel is written in the perspective of three teenage girls, who all are vastly different but somehow they end up taking a road trip together. Jesse, has been living in her mundane town for too long and ever since the major event that has changed her life has happened, she can’t wait to escape to somewhere else. Vicks is Jesse’s best friend, her boyfriend, Brady has just left to Miami to university but since then their relationship has been a rocky road. Mel is the new girl in town and she wants to fit in with people not just for her rich family but for being the girl she is. However, her insecurity always gets the best of her. One weekend, the three girls decide to take a trip down to Miami, where they go through one amazing journey.
*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HOW TO BE BAD*
How To Be Bad has been extremely different to the recent contemporaries I’ve read. What I really enjoyed about this novel was the fact that, with the three different authors we experience a contemporary that consists of three individual lives and stories that become linked and woven together to create this fun novel. The storyline at first may seem typical with your average teenage road-trip but the stops, mini-complications, people they encounter and the inside jokes that are created are what made this book a really enjoying read. The readers are confronted with this journey, rather than a major climax and because of that you want to keep enjoying the ride with them.
Within the novel, there are many distinct events, such as, Old Joe’s Museum and the hurricane in California. There were also many heated arguments between the three characters. When Mel and Vicks had the fight between what had happened at the party with Marco, I loved finding out how they resolved the arguments. What was really unique about this novel was the way the authors settled the arguments, which was definitely more relatable and realistic to the way teenage girls solve their problems nowadays. As a teenage girl, I can honestly say that usually a lot of our issues between our closest friends are solved by a joke or an inside joke that always brings them together and in this novel, that was definitely how many problems were sorted out.
The characters, on the other hand, were a bit unrelatable, except for Mel. Perhaps, it’s because I have not personally experienced anything Vicks or Jesse had experienced but for me there characters were very “out-there”. Vicks was the “wild-child” character and she had a lot of guts. Therefore, I found it hard to relate to her. However, I did love her story. I desperately wanted to know what would happen to her and Brady. I couldn’t believe that she tried to make a move on Marco and her character was a huge contrast to Jesse and Mel. Vicks character was a lot of fun to read about and her words were definitely one of the funniest.
Jesse’s character had a few flaws, which brought down the book. At the start of the novel, she mentioned her mother had cancer, which was her big secret. However, the story didn’t really develop that as it progressed. To be honest, I forgot about it until she mentioned it again in the last quarter of the book. Her mother’s cancer was supposed to be her major climax but I couldn’t follow it because it seemed like she was focussed more on her stolen car and her duck. Not only that but when she met and kissed the Chinese boy in Epcot, I couldn’t quite figure out the point of that as it was so out of the blue and it never seemed to be pursued any further. However, i loved her character and relationship development with the other two girls, I enjoyed reading about how she changed her view on Mel and how she managed to get past the rough patch between her and Vicks.
Mel, was my favourite because she was the most relatable and I loved her story, even though it was resolved quite early in the story. She came from a rich background and I loved how they explored that issue which is not often discussed in many novels. I enjoyed reading about how, even though she came from a rich family she tried her best not to reflect that because people judged her on it. I particularly liked the part where she mentioned that she missed so many opportunities because she looked too much into it. When she fell in love with Marco, it was the cutest thing and I really loved reading about the,
Unfortunately, the ending was a let down. It was very abrupt and we never get closure on what happens to Jesse’s mother, on Mel and Marco’s relationship and on Brady and Vick’s relationship, as well. It was an attempt to be a cliffhanger but it didn’t work out so well, I thought I was missing some pages but it just came to a halt and I was very disappointed. Nevertheless, How To Be Bad was a fun read and I loved following the journey of the three characters and the different lessons all three of the girls learnt.