Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

In a time that feels particularly right, i recently picked up Rules For Being A Girl. I’ve had it sat on my shelf for some time, and i was drawn to it at the moment with everything happening surrounding women’s rights and safety. This story is a YA novel about a girl in a very different situation than is being discussed in the media at the moment. But the message is still incredibly important.

In the back of my mind i knew what this book was about, however i didn’t know the full story. There will be some spoilers in this post, so do not continue if you want to read this book.

Marin is seventeen, and in her final year of high school. Everything is absolutely fine until one day when her teacher takes her back to his apartment and kisses her. The aftermath of what happens clearly shows the lack of control young females have on these situations when there is someone in a position of power over them. The novel explores Marin coming to terms with what happens and what that means for her now and her future. It follows the school finding out about what happened and even other students coming out having had the same experience.

The story is incredibly cliche to this situation, however it doesn’t make it any less important, especially for a YA novel. By cliche i mean Marin comes across as very head strong, which means there are some decisions that in the situation of abuse from a teacher, i don’t think would be allowed to happen. I feel like Marin wasn’t protected as much as she should have been, and honestly i don’t know if this is a sad reflection of reality or exaggerated for the story.

As i said, it doesnt mean that the message of this story is any less important due to those moments. It’s actively teaching boundaries to young adults and respect, and that’s the most important message it’s giving. It’s teaching young adults not to go along with decisions people in power make because it will make their life easier, to stand up for what you believe in and more importantly, to report any behaviour that isn’t acceptable.

Rules For Being A Girl feels important for any young person to read as it addresses in a very casual way the society expectations that is imposed on females. It’s a very young feminist book that teaches you to stand up for yourself and what you believe in for your gender and a female.

Again, this is something that is clearly being discussed at large at the moment. But this story is wrapped up in some great characters, representation and really supportive parents. It shows all kinds of people and how they may act to these ‘rules of girls’, and very clearly highlights the behaviour that is wrong.

I want to quickly mention the characters of this book and how wonderful i found them. There is a classic romance sub-plot, which i don’t think was incredibly necessary in the story, however it didn’t take away from the main message. Most of the characters felt realistic, and it was nice to have some characters, such as Marin’s parents that were incredibly supportive of what was happening and expressed their views in a very non-judgmental way. It very clearly gave the impression to young adults that people will believe you and will be there to support you.

Rules For Being A Girl is an incredibly important book, one that i absolutely flew through and really enjoyed reading. Without a doubt it’s a must read for any young person in your life, or if you want some feminist energy.

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