The higher you aim, the farther you fall….
It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.
When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge epic failure?
Sixteen-year-old Violet and her best friend, Katie, do everything together. They attend an all-girls prep school in the Boston area, and while their home lives differ slightly (Violet's parents are more supportive and less affluent), their shared concerns are typical: crushing on the same guy, worrying about PSAT scores and getting into an Ivy League college, and juggling afterschool activities. Success seems to come easily for Katie, while Violet is a workaholic, but both girls are deeply stressed by academic pressures. When Katie begins acting out (suggesting they get drunk, stealing Ritalin, dating a burnout), Violet's world is turned upside down. While debut author Sales conveys the dynamics of the girls' friendship with honesty and a light touch, her meandering vignette-style narrative doesn't gain focus until the second half of the book, when Katie's self-destructive streak emerges and Violet's insecure, competitive character gains more likeable dimensions. Katie emerges as the more compelling individual; readers will likely understand her decision to leave the shelter of her privileged private school world to seek more diverse life experiences. Ages 14 up.