yolo: The Internet Girls, Book 4

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
yolo: The Internet Girls, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Series friends hit college in fast-paced sequel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Gives some portraits of college life and what kinds of experiences teens could encounter. 

Positive Messages

There's a message here about growing up and trying new things in college -- but also about sticking with your friends and being supportive as they grow and change.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The girls all make mistakes (Maddie lies, Zoe has sex with her recent ex-boyfriend to try to win him back), but they are loyal friends. They try to solve one another's problems, from offering advice to raising money when one of the girl's can't afford to get home for Thanksgiving. 

Violence

Angela walks in on guys trying to rape a passed-out girl at a sorority party. Angela talks about some Greek-life rumors (such as girls having to perform oral sex on frat boys or frat guys slipping date-rape drugs to girls and then raping them while other Greeks watch and take pictures).

Sex

Angela's a virgin, and Zoe and Maddie are in sexual relationships. The girls talk about having sex, including oral sex. Angela kisses a boy whose name she doesn't know. A girl sleeps naked in Maddie's dorm room. A girl kisses another girl.

Language

Casual use of "f--k" and "s--t," and girls calling each other "bitch" and "slut."  Plus, there are a few words such as "a--hole," "c--k," and "d--k." One of the girls says people use the word "gay" at her school as an insult.

Consumerism

Some junk food products, such as Cheetos, Coke, Jell-O shots, M&M's, Starbucks, and Totino's frozen pizza.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some talk of drinking, partying, and being hungover. Angela's story line, in particular, is about Greek life, and her stories feature the most alcohol. Also, Angela takes too many painkillers after injuring her foot in an accident. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lauren Myracle's yolo, a book in The Internet Girls series (ttfn, l8g8r) told in texts and instant messages, is about college life and features college freshmen drinking, eating junk food, and swearing casually (including  "f--k" and "s--t") and girls calling each other "bitch" and "slut." Angela's pledging a sorority and walks in on guys trying to rape a passed-out girl at a sorority party. She also discusses some Greek-life rumors (such as girls having to perform oral sex on frat boys and frat guys slipping date-rape drugs to girls and then raping them while other Greeks watch and take pictures). Two of the protagonists are in sexual relationships. One girl kisses another girl. The three protagonists all make mistakes (Maddie lies, Zoe has sex with her recent ex-boyfriend to try to win him back), but they are loyal friends. They try to solve one another's problems, from offering advice to raising money when one of the girl's can't afford to get home for Thanksgiving. There's a message here about growing up and trying new things in college -- but also about sticking with your friends and being supportive as they grow and change. 

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What's the story?

In YOLO, the friends readers have gotten to know from titles such as ttfn and l8g8r are back for more texting and instant messaging as they try to support each other through their first year of college at very different schools -- even encouraging each other to say yes to adventures that come their way, because "you only live once." Some of their adventures are well-tread fare, such as Zoe's long-distance boyfriend deciding to break up with her or Maddie's failure to fit in with her roommate and her friends. Meanwhile, Angela wants to go Greek but has doubts about sorority life as she encounters sexist and degrading requirements -- and even has to prevent a violent crime -- as she gets deeper into pledging.

Is it any good?

Yolo is a fun, fast-paced book that still will get teens thinking about what it means to be a good friend -- and about what kind of college experience they might want. (Maddie heads to a cool, public California college while Angela stays in Georgia, attending a school with a lot of Greek life; meanwhile, Zoe's in a small, liberal arts college in the Midwest.) Readers may feel that an awful lot happens to these girls before their first Thanksgiving break, some of it pretty outrageous, but, in the end, they'll be glad to see the longtime friends continue to hang in there -- and with each other -- through it all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about writing a book in instant messages and other written communications. What do you think might be challenging about this format? 

  • Thinking about the three different college experiences the protagonists here have, would you want to go to any of those schools? Parents could use this book to talk about their own concerns about on-campus safety, drinking, and more. 

  • One of the story lines is about an attempted rape during a fraternity party, something that's been covered in real-life news stories. What should colleges be doing to make sure students are safe?

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