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Sunday, June 7, 2015

ARC Review :What's a Girl Gonna Do (One, Two, Kick Off Your Shoe!) by George Wolkon and Barbara Wolkon

Disclaimer: I was give a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Drew, a new girl at Midville High is a barefoot place kicker. The school needs a kicker. Braden, the quarterback, urges her to join the team even though she’s a girl. Braden’s cheerleader girlfriend, Kaitlin, mercilessly teases Drew about being from “the wrong side of the tracks.” In the first game, Braden smuggles Drew onto the team. She kicks off her shoe and scores the winning field goal. Then, the Coach, the team, the school, and the crowd find out that Drew is a girl. Major conflicts erupt within the town. Drew is confused, filled with pride, shame and guilt. Should girls be allowed on a boy’s team? How does Braden deal with a dilemma with two girls? Will the Coach and Drew’s father lose their jobs? Does the jealousy and social position of one girl jeopardize the chances of another?

So I had some real issues with this novella and I will get to them, but first I want to explain why I think you should read this book, and not just if you are a girl.

This book is about a girl who goes forth and does something she is good at (kicking a football!) even though people say mean things to and about her. She receives the support of the entire football team and the coach. The boys on her team treat her with respect and they respect themselves. This novella highlights some of the nasty ways girls, in particular, are treated in school by way of discrimination and bullying. It pinpoints how the law says NOTHING about what genders are allowed to try out for which sports teams and that girls are every bit as good as boys and can do anything they set their minds to.

The last chapter of the novella also highlights incidents in the past ten years or so where women were treated badly for wanting to play sports or even report about sports. This shows that equal rights between men and women still have a long way to go and we need to work on that as a society, which is the point the authors were trying to get across.

I believe this novel is in need of a good editor and a rewrite and then could quite possibly be something read not only mainstream but also be passed out in schools.

Some things that were not as great as the over all message:

The villain, Kaitlin was really unsympathetic to the point where it was almost ridiculous. She doesn't want the MC (Drew) to play football because she think Drew is trying to steal her boyfriend and that she is not "lady like." Kaitlin tries to keep Drew from playing with elaborate measures like; Picketing, stealing her homework and causing her to break her toe. Kaitlin'd dad who runs the shoe factory (who of course Drew's dad works for) even threatens Drew's father's job if Drew keeps playing. Kaitlin also does not talk the way normal high school girls talk. i.e

"Kaitlin responds, “It really is a girl. Her name is Drew. She’s in my math class. She seems good in math, but is so boring. She’s the daughter of one of those new shoe factory workers who live across the railroad tracks. They wear cheap, out of style clothes that they probably buy second-hand at the Salvation Army. They have no class.”

At one point this happens:, "Kaitlin viciously says, “I’ll get that nobody somehow!” Way too "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too!"

Another issue was that the dialogue/writing in the book did not correspond well with when the book took place. The book talks about facebook and tweeting, but has scenes like this:

Her mother agrees, “You‘re right. Young ladies do not play football. It’s not ladylike. Real ladies must accept and act in accordance with their social responsibility and position in life. Not like the wives and daughters of those who live on the other side of the tracks. Their husbands and fathers, even some of the mothers if you can believe it, work for your father in the shoe factory. They have no ambition.” Kaitlin thanks her mother for being so understanding, and says, “I wish Braden understood the issue as we do. I know he wants his team to win so can earn a football scholarship to college. I want those things too, but being a lady is more important. I know what to do now. I’m going to tweet my friends right this second. At lunch time on Monday, we will picket against girls playing football. We can’t have Drew destroy the meaning of being a lady.”

Kaitlin's family also has, what seems to be, a live in black maid who calls Kaitlin; Miss Kailtin, and acts the stereotype black servant to a rich white family. If there is facebook I assume this novel doesn't take place in the 1950's or even yet the 1850's. It just felt very old fashionably written, like it should be taking place NOT in 2014.

There were also a lot of  scenes were I rolled my eyes cause that would not happen. Like the maid letting boys into Kaitlin's room while she was gone...or new girl Drew opening up to a jock and dumping her life story on him ten minutes after they first met.

Drew's character wasn't very flushed out either. I felt the coach was the lead in this novel and the most interesting of all the characters.

None of these issues can't be fixed, however, and the main concept behind the book is a strong one, plus it's a short easy read. So even with my complaints I would still recommend this.

Happy Reading