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Reviews of I'm the Girl by Courtney Summers

I'm the Girl

by Courtney Summers

I'm the Girl by Courtney Summers X
I'm the Girl by Courtney Summers
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2022, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2024, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Book Summary

The next searing and groundbreaking queer young adult novel from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers.

All sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis wants is everything, but the poverty and hardship that defines her life has kept her from the beautiful and special things she knows she deserves. When she stumbles upon the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, Georgia teams up with Ashley's older sister Nora, to find the killer before he strikes again, and their investigation throws Georgia into a glittering world of unimaginable privilege and wealth--and all she's ever dreamed. But behind every dream lurks a nightmare, and Georgia must reconcile her heart's desires with what it really takes to survive. As Ashley's killer closes in and their feelings for one another grow, Georgia and Nora will discover when money, power, and beauty rule, it's not always a matter of who is guilty but who is guiltiest--and the only thing that might save them is each other.

A spiritual successor to the breakout hit Sadie, I'm the Girl is a brutal and illuminating account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?

prologue
Aspera.

It comes to me on my knees in the back of one of the mall's storerooms, its gray concrete walls dappled with early morning light. I close my eyes and there's a memory there: I was thirteen years old and I'd gone missing just a little while. Ended up on a dirt road outside of town. It was summer then too, the kind of heat that sours you, and I was angry with my mother, the kind of anger that changes the way you look at the world and makes you understand, for better and worse, the way the world's looking at you. I remember my body as it was then, caught between fading adolescence and aspiring womanhood. I didn't yet fully grasp my burgeoning chest or bee-stung lips turned suddenly suggestive. I was dizzy, dried out from the weather, and I wasn't sure how far I'd walked when the car pulled up beside me, its window rolled down.

A man inside.

Are you the girl? he'd asked.

And I'd felt like I'd been saved from something, but I didn't know what.

Until now.

Now: I open my...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

I'm the Girl is a novel for mature teen readers; not only due to its explicit descriptions of sexual violence, among other troubling topics, but also because of its sophisticated storytelling and prose. At times, Summers employs almost savagely precise descriptions, but elsewhere, readers must fill in the gaps for themselves. Throughout, the novel grapples with questions about the nature of power, especially for young women. Cleo Hayes contends that, even at places like Aspera that cater to rich and influential men, it's actually girls like Georgia who—thanks to the intoxicating effect of their physical beauty—can hold all the power. But as the nature of Georgia's situation—and of Aspera itself—becomes clearer, readers will have plenty more to consider, including whether contemporary consumer culture markets beauty to young women as a source of power and, if so, at what cost...continued

Full Review (581 words)

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(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Media Reviews

Buzzfeed
Courtney Summers is an absolute expert at crafting unflinching thrillers, and this one is one of her best.

New York Times
I'm the Girl is Summers's most explicit work by far, featuring detailed descriptions of rape and violence likely to overwhelm readers below high school age. Still, it ultimately offers no shocking revelations... But this book is not so much about confirming the existence of female exploitation as it is about watching one young girl begin to comprehend it.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Summers' latest masterful thriller takes on the world of wealth and privilege to examine questions of power, predatory behavior, and, ultimately, complicity, and agency...a heartbreaking, brutal, and devastatingly realistic novel.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Summers attentively outlines harsh realities of bodily autonomy, predatory behavior, and sexual violence in this emotionally raw and brutally captivating novel...Summers expertly weaves together drama, mystery, and romance...for an intense look into one girl's wish to be seen as mature, and the powers that manipulate her, in this powerful, ultimately hopeful performance.

School Library Journal (starred review)
From the opening scene, Summers propels readers into an unwavering staring contest with some of the darkest truths the world has to offer young women...A powerful and important story.

Booklist
Brutal and bold...a raw and crushing page-turner.

Author Blurb Danya Kukafka, author of Notes on an Execution
A lightning bolt of a novel. Courtney Summers delivers a harrowing, hypnotic examination of feminine power, and feminine vulnerability; with unparalleled wit and masterful pacing, she explores the deadly cost of a young woman's desire. I truly could not put this book down.

Author Blurb Kate Elizabeth Russell, New York Times bestselling author of My Dark Vanessa
I'm the Girl is a stunner — tender, raw, and compulsively readable. This is a gutsy novel, one that takes risks and turns toward darkness while maintaining a delicate vulnerability. Courtney Summers writes teenage girls with the complexity they deserve.

Author Blurb Paula McLain, author of When the Stars Go Dark and The Paris Wife
Scorchingly smart and on point, Courtney Summers' latest novel advances her even more fearlessly into the conversation about female autonomy, sexuality, and the damage wrought when young women try to win in a system rigged against them. Taut, unfiltered and unapologetically emotional, I'm the Girl digs in its nails and doesn't let go.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The History of Antler and Horn Décor

15th-century German antler chandelier featuring carving of a woman's head and shoulders in the center In Courtney Summers' I'm the Girl, much of the plot focuses on the mysterious, imposing Aspera resort. Part of what gives Aspera its exotic and vaguely menacing atmosphere is the fact that its luxurious interiors are heavily decorated with deer antlers (the book's endpapers also contain images of antlers). For Matthew Hayes, the owner of Aspera, these trophies—and the game hunting they represent—symbolize power and virility. Aspera's interior design also participates in a centuries-old tradition of decorating with the antlers and horns of animals.

Chandeliers made from deer antlers date back to 15th-century castles and manor homes of European nobility, a rustic yet powerful contrast to the perhaps more obvious luxury of ...

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Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

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