Book in Review: The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan

Okay, so… we’re back with another book review, y’all!

Now, this one… I’ll just say it. It was meh to me. But, as always, I’m going to give it an honest review, highlighting the good and the bad for you all. So buckle up and join me on the journey of unpacking this… interesting tale!

The Book Overview

In a sentence, this book is all about a “good girl” who gets “accidentally” caught up in a drug ring at her high school. I mean, honestly, I can’t get any more descriptive than that, haha.

But, there’s also this more official overview to take a look at…

The Book Cover and Description, Taken from Goodreads:

“After getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracized. She plans to keep her head down until she graduates. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing from a dealer, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is—and own it. The longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.”

If you’ve ever seen the movie Easy A (one of my faves, to by honest), it’s slightly in the same lane. Not completely the same, that’s for sure, but I can say that I could feel the parallels–it’s all based on the good-girl-gone-rouge concept.

My Review

I’m just gonna be honest with you all–I did not fall in love with this book. However, I didn’t entirely hate it, either. It was… again, just meh to me.

I mean, I rented the audiobook through my local library, and I always kind of pay less attention to audiobooks than physical or digital books that I have to read because… well, you know, audiobooks spoon-feed the words to us, so it can be super easy to tune it out and get distracted and what not. And… this book felt really easy to tune out because it was so mediocre, so I did catch myself just not paying attention to what was going on in the book a lot of times. Until the end, that is, which is one section I did enjoy!

Now, just hear me out on a few of my good/bad points of this little YA novel…

‘Euphoria’ Kind of Came Through

I’ve actually never watched the HBO show Euphoria, but I do know that it’s had its share of both praise and backlash, mainly because it depicts teenagers in a lot of situations centered around sex and drugs. And, honestly, even though I’ve literally never watched this show before in my life… by the end of chapter one, I thought the book I was reading really was Euphoria.

I mean, I personally don’t have a problem with teen fiction and young adult books/shows/movies/whatever dealing with sex and drugs because, hello, we all know it happens… but, when a book just kind of centers around those things, it feels kind of… um… I don’t know what to call it. Maybe trashy?

Well, in any case, The Accidental Bad Girl definitely centered around sex and drugs… and not rock and roll. Maybe it could have used some of that to lighten the load a bit. Because, guys, I can only read/listen to so many pages/hours of illegal underage conduct before my eyes roll out of my head.

Because (slight spoiler alert here) a high school student being the incredible genius behind the creation and wide distribution of a highly potent date-rape drug while staying out of the eye of absolutely any law enforcement in a metropolitan city just isn’t realistic to me.

Our MC Wasn’t Much of a “Good” or “Bad” Girl… Ever

As for another thing that kind of bothered me in this read… well, our MC/main character, Kendall, was supposedly a good girl gone bad… although, honestly, I never thought of her as either behavioral type.

I mean, when the book begins, Kendall immediately earns the “new” “bad” girl label because she was caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend. In the story, of course, everyone and their brother in the entire damn township heard about this incident and completely freaked out over it… while, in real life, we all know that no one would even care, aside from the group of, like, ten people that caught her. So, making it so obvious that absolutely everyone who ever came in contact with Kendall would thereby deem her “bad” just for hearing about this terrible, shockingly horrible thing she must have done… yeah, I’m sorry, I don’t really buy it.

On the other hand, we also never saw Kendall before the opening incident, so how were we supposed to know she was once a “good” girl, anyway? At least, not until, basically, the end, when she does reflect back on how things were beforehand…

But the Ending Had a Moment

Well, if you’ve made it to this point of my review, you’ve already had a heaping dose of my ranting, which could be totally off-base, by the way, who knows… and so you do deserve to hear my more positive points now!

So, I will say this… I did like the last, like, 20-25% of this book.

It took me a hell of a long time to get into, but, once I got a little bit past the halfway mark, I did start to enjoy things. Mainly, I enjoyed the drug ring mysteries and all the little twists and turns around Kendall’s chase to figure out what was actually going on and who she could and couldn’t trust. And, maybe that was included in the first 75-80% of the book, too, and I just tuned it all out… or, perhaps, it was actually getting better toward the end.

So, yeah, I was sort of glad I stuck around to the end… but, to be transparent with you guys, I always force myself to finish a book, whether I hate it or love it or meh it, just so that I can squeeze a book review blog post (like this) out of it, if anything.

Ha.

So, anyway, let’s just round this out by recommending this book to anyone who truly likes Euphoria, good girl gone bad stories, and doesn’t mind sticking around long enough to get to the good parts that show up more toward the end! Which is pretty specific, but, ya know, there might be those types of people somewhere out there…

Let me know if you have read this book or do or don’t plan to read it any time soon in the comments below! You can also let me know if I’m starting to get more and more picky and ranty in my book reviews. Because I feel like I am.

–Kari

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