The Mean Girl Apologies by Stephanie Monahan – 4.5 stars
You know that catchy song you keep hearing on the radio? It’s about you.
Natalie Jamison has spent five years trying to forget the girl she was in high school: popular, pretty…and, okay, mean. Now in her twenties and living once again in her small town, she’s right back where she was: following Queen Bee Amber and keeping secrets from her best friend, Sarah.
Secrets like Jack Moreland.
Everyone knows Jack Moreland—his new album, Good Enough, is everywhere. He’s famous. Impossibly handsome. Completely untouchable. But what none of Natalie’s old clique knows is that in high school, Natalie and Jack fell in love. And their secret relationship was incredible, painful—and earth-shattering enough to inspire an entire album.
Facing friends and enemies isn’t easy, but Natalie will go to great lengths to prove she is good enough—to her friends, to herself, and most of all, to the small-town boy turned worldwide heartthrob she never forgot.
This story is charming and enjoyable from start to finish. It’s a lovely story about someone growing up in the most concrete sense: she learns that she’s not the only person with feelings and complexity. That change people go through in their college years is beautifully depicted alongside a sweet, tender romance.
Natalie’s journey of self-discovery leads her down a path that sometimes hurts and sometimes bewilders her, yet she keeps forging ahead, hoping to figure things out and become a better person for it. That effort, even when it goes awry, makes her feel whole and rounded, and I liked her. Most of the time. Sometimes, I wanted to smack her upside the head, a sure sign the tale managed to invest me in her life.
There was one section with nested flashbacks that left me a little confused and required re-reading, but it lasted only for one chapter. The rest flowed smoothly and carried me along. I did sometimes get the feeling that everything went a little too well for Natalie, but only in a few spots, and overall, I found the story satisfying and well worth my time.
I recommend this for anyone who enjoys real life style romance. It’s about realistic people in a normal, real world setting. It is not erotica, and the target audience is late teen to twentysomething women. I feel comfortable recommending it for as young as sixteen or so, and older people who enjoy the genre will likely appreciate it, especially if you went to public high school in the US.