A lot of the books I’ve read recently have “Mean Girls” vibes. I’m not sure if this is just because a lot of authors are being published who have taken inspiration from the film, or I’m subconsciously picking them to read…
Winning was a book I pre-ordered after seeing it mentioned by some BookTubers. It actually references Mean Girls a lot, and the characters refer to various characters/ moments from the film frequently.
From the blurb:
Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?
Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.
Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.
With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
Alexandra (never Alex) is absolutely ruthless; she has a plan to become Miss America one day and she will do anything to reach her goals, whether this means sabotaging her competition or manipulating her friends. Alexandra’s mum is a former beauty queen/ alcoholic, who projects her failures onto her daughter. Their relationship is really interesting.
Sam, Alexandra’s best friend is another example of the lengths she is prepared to go to. Sam is gay and obviously fancies Alexandra, so Alexandra flirts with Sam, brushed against her “accidentally”, constantly giving Sam false hope that she might one day return her feelings.
When new girl Erin joins the school and is nominated to run for homecoming queen, Alexandra goes out of her way to make her life difficult. Ivy, a girl who has suffered mental health problems, is also nominated. Alexandra has orchestrated Ivy’s nomination as part of her grand scheme for world domination, but in targeting a girl who is only just starting to recover from a terrible illness, has Alexandra gone too far? Sam starts to see Alexandra for who she really is; could she be about to lose her only ally?
This is an addictive read. I love Alexandra, shes such a cow. There is a resolution to the main plot in the novel, but it is strongly implied that this isn’t the end. I’m really hoping for a sequel.
Winning is quite a quick read at 300 pages, it only took me 3 hours to read, but you become so immersed in the story. Luckily my school was nothing like this, although there were plenty of bitchy cliques, don’t get me wrong, but Winning made me remember the politics and general atmosphere of secondary school. I did find myself thinking, this is only school, it does not mean anything compared to the rest of your life, when the characters got all angsty.
Overall this was a fun read that had me racing through the pages to see who won the crown.
Let me know in the comments if you have read or will be reading this book, and about your high school experiences; were you prom queen, in the drama club (like me), did you write for the school newspaper (guilty) or did you play sports? Maybe you did your own thing. I’m interested, let me know.