Rahul Kanakia - Enter Title HereExpected publication: August 2, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
I’m your protagonist—Reshma Kapoor—and if you have the free time to read this book, then you’re probably nothing like me.
Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.
What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she’ll finally have the key to Stanford.
But she’s convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important than success—a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.
Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can’t always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It’s pretty far.)
~If I can describe this book in one word, it would be entertaining.
Reshma Kapoor is not talented in any way. She plagiarizes and cheats to get what she wants. And if a teacher has the nerve to give her a grade lower than a C-, she has Daddy sue them.
But at the start of the book, I did like her. I found her entertaining. Unique. And you know what? She is. Rahul Kanakia said she isn't likeable and, believe me, she's far from. She's not an antihero. I couldn't sympathize with her. She treats her parents horribly. Her personality is robotic. Practically sociopathic. Besides, being a study maniac, I don't know what she actually enjoys. Do you listen to Halsey? Do you like McDonald's McFlurries? Do you DVR Jane The Virgin? Nothing. Reshma enjoys suing people and hopes to go to Stanford one day. Beauty queen material.
This book glorifies lawsuits. Perhaps, intentionally. It makes suing someone seem so easy and fun. In reality, lawsuits goes on for months. Years. Whenever Reshma felt someone had "wronged" her, she called Daddy, had him call the lawyer or file the paperwork, and sigh over his daughter's stupidity: "Another lawsuit, beta?"
How is Reshma allowed to torment a teacher so openly? In Gossip Girl: The TV Show, Blair did the same and was expelled.
There's a sort-of/kind-of
It is interesting to see high schoolers honestly give a damn about college. When I was in high school, my friends and I never asked each other about it. And (un)surprisingly, Reshma has no actual friends, so it's quite sad to those who obviously don't like her.
Obviously, I couldn't relate to Reshma because she was cruel and thoughtless. I found no character development. This read was almost painful. It was simply entertainment. Reshma expected sympathy for all the terrible things she did, then was astounded when people weren't automatically on her side. I appreciated the diversity and the non-slutshaming, but that's all I can brag about. If you're looking for a casual, easy read, here you go.