Parents' Guide to

Neighborhood Girls

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Interesting but uneven look at the power of cliques.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Kept my hard-to-please 7th grader riveted

My daughter and I read the book together and both found it very engaging. Aside from the language and references to sex, what I liked and I think my daughter also found intriguing was how it portrays teenage female friendships and hierarchies. It’s sort of a universal story that almost any female can relate to. Of course I’m hoping my daughter may consider some of the girls’ behavior and glean some perspective on the teenage years.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

This sometimes engaging but mostly uneven story of a girl seeking protection among the cool kids shines a light on the power of high school cliques and female friendships. Author Jessie Ann Foley writes Neighborhood Girls from Wendy's point of view, and she does an excellent job of showing the push and pull of Wendy's conscience as she struggles with her friends' lack of ethics and lack of intellectual depth. The downside is that it get increasingly frustrating to read about Wendy's inaction and her friends' behavior. Kenzie, the leader of the clique, is unbearable at times, and the story veers into bleak territory here and there. Also, side stories and too much detail on interactions not all that important to the story make the book longer than it needs to be. Foley tried to cram in too much, and the narrative suffers as a result.

The writing is beautiful and wonderfully descriptive in spots, and Foley highlights the dilemma families face when a loved one has done something terrible. It's intriguing to contemplate how a family could reconcile the person they knew to be good and loving with the sadistic abuser who could do such things (in this case abuse and torture suspects), sometimes to teens.

Book Details

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