waynepygram.com: Mean Girls YA Novel Mini-Review

waynepygram.com: Mean Girls YA Novel Mini-Review

One time Regina George punched me in the face. It was awesome.

What is it? Young Adult novelization of Mean Girls movie (see our review for that which is down below, somewhere)
Where did it air? Uhhh...it's a book so....
Who stars in it? Well again it's a book but it is a novelization of a very famous movie so here's a refresher.

It stars her

Her

Her

And her


Why are we reviewing this? Well I figure since we reviewed the movie and my book copy finally came in I figure why not?

Speaking of which, there are two theories about book vs. movie adaptations. The first is that there should be at least some fundamental, appreciative differences between the two, otherwise what's the point of having the same story in different mediums? Of course it's not very helpful to diverge too far otherwise you run into another serious question: what's the point of even having it keep the same title? We've seen this kind of extreme especially in DCOMs like Frenemies, Zapped and Invisible Sister; in Frenemies and Zapped they literally just kept the character names and spun the plots out of brand-new whole cloth, and they both ended up equally having practically zero resemblance to the source material (at least in Zapped they did give it a new title, but again the plots diverged so much one has to wonder if they had given the characters new names if they no longer legally obligated themselves to having a "based on the novel" credit) while Invisible Sister didn't even go that far, just completely running away with the "sister who's invisible" concept and probably claiming a resemblance to the book just to avoid legal troubles with having a similar title. 

And then there's the other school of thought that says that the movie should be as close to the book as possible because...that's what people want? I mean, I get it, it does feel like a betrayal when characters or plot details are changed but...change, like any narrative tool, is just that - a tool. And it can be good or bad depending on how it's used. Plus this argument tends to hold more water when it's a book-to-movie adaptation, not the other way around.

And that's what we have here, a movie-to-book adaptation, about a dozen years after the fact, in fact. I don't know if even Tina Fey herself anticipated Mean Girls being the cultural phenomenon it ended up being, even after that dozen years later, to the point where it has a whole day dedicated to it based entirely off a random throw-away line from the movie, a line who's whole point was that it was throw-away. Given that, it's inevitable a book would eventually follow - in fact it's surprising it took this long, really.

Of course the other quirk involved is that Mean Girls, the movie, already is based on a book, Queen Bees and Wannabes - but as we covered in the movie review, yeah, that's a self-help book. Fey pretty much just took the title and ran with it, Frenemies/Zapped/Invisible Sister-style, to weave her own tale.Of course, history remembers her running quite successfully with it. 

So how does the Street Fighter: The Video Game: The Movie: The Video Game-esque inception of book-to-movie-to-book come out? 

Well for starters I liked it, it certainly recreated the best moments of the movie very well. In fact it...really is like reading the movie, except with parts from the perspectives of Regina, Gretchen and Karen which was nifty. Some people on Goodreads got annoyed by really how close it followed the movie, but at the very least Ostow captures it very well. And just as she did with getting into Regina's/Gretchen's/Karen's headspace, she does a good job actually introducing us to Cady's perspective coming in from being homeschooled by her research-obsessed parents in Africa and even sneaking in a few references and homages to Queen Bees and Wannabes (the constant references to "Girl World," QB&W's term for the artificial construct of social hierarchy girls inhabit).

So, there you have it. Honestly, your enjoyment will depend on how much you want to relive the movie, and in a form other than the movie itself, and it'll probably be mostly appreciated by either super-fans or younger teen readers who tend to be really into both this book genre in general and just re-reading the movie. If you don't really find yourself thinking of the movie that much, even on October 3, you might not really find reading this book all that necessary.

Book Grade: I gave it four stars on Goodreads which I guess translates to...I dunno, a B+? Unless Mike insists on it, and since GMWReviewed seems to have gone into near-permanent hibernation, I don't really feel any obligation to be compatible with them/rip them off and I'll probably retire the letter grading scheme and just go with a flat descriptive sentence, something along the lines of "yes it's worth reading blah blah blah."

Or let me put it this way: if you're really into Mean Girls or haven't had a lot of exposure to it yet but you really like catty high school chick lit with an out-from-left-field but satisfying twist, it might be worth a hardcover purchase. If not, it might be worth a library checkout still.

Favorite Character: Despite the diversity of perspectives this is still very much Cady's story, but another thing the book does is letting Janis stand out more, to the point where I think she really steals her scenes even more than in the movie.

Extra Thoughts:

 - Ummm...nothing in particular. Although There are extra goodies thrown into the book like text/diary excerpts and at the end an illustrated guide of the school including all the clique divisions.

 - Oh, and that does remind me - it is a bit awkward having Gretchen talk about how she couldn't imagine her life without three-way calling...and then having all the characters text to each other. It's a bit anachronistic by modern standards, needless to say. I wonder if maybe it would've been better to just have the book take place back around '05 or so when the movie was first released?
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