Take Three Girls
Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, and Fiona Wood
Published April 6, 2021 (Orig. 2017)
About Take Three Girls
Popular Ady seems cool and confident at school, but at home her family is falling apart. Brainiac Kate wants to pursue her dreams of playing music, even if it jeopardizes her academic scholarship. And swim champ Clem finds herself disenchanted with the sport . . . and falling for a very wrong boy. When these three very different girls are forced to team up in a wellness class, they’re not too pleased. But over time, they bond—and when they’re all targeted by PSST, a website that dishes out malicious gossip and lies, they decide to take a stand, uncover the culprits, and fight back. But can they really fix a broken system? With each girl’s story told by a different author, as well as intriguing questionnaires from the wellness class included throughout, this empowering novel explores today’s most relevant topics— from cyberbullying and fat shaming to drug abuse and financial stress.
“Mean stuff spreads so fast. One click. Post. Send. Share. Online bullying = sometimes suicides, so all the private schools have strategies for dealing with it. At St Hilda’s, it’s Wellness classes. We greeted the idea with genuine enthusiasm. Why not? Everyone loves the chance to slack off.”
Three authors. Three appealing and relatable characters. One smart YA novel about a trio of unlikely friends who team up to take down the school cyberbully.
My favorite thing about this book is the way the friendships develop between the girls. At the beginning of the story, it’s clear they don’t really like or respect one another. They do have things they grudgingly admire about each other, though, which felt really real. The way their friendship grows felt so natural and believable. I wanted to celebrate every moment of it. It totally took me back to those deep friendships I had in high school, too. I loved that.
There can never be enough stories that shine a light on the power and empowering effect of girl friendships. I love that this book paid such a beautiful tribute to them.
One of the things I feel like I can never get enough of in a book are characters who are artistic in some way. I love living vicariously through them. So I really enjoyed all the scenes in which Kate is playing her cello. I loved that she took playing music, something we’ve all seen done before in books, in a fresh direction, too, by having her also mixing in other sound tracks and giving it a tech aspect– that’s something I’ve never seen done before, I don’t think. And while I know nothing about that process, I felt like I followed what she was doing just fine and loved it. It made me wish I could listen to the music she was writing.
Ady’s family crisis over substance abuse really drew me in, too. I felt like her experience of trying to figure out what was going on and especially doing that through reading the other people in the room and even some eavesdropping felt totally real to me. I remembered a lot of those kinds of moments in my own teen life during the process of discovering someone close to me was addicted to alcohol.
I think I struggled the most with Clem’s story, even though to be honest, that resonated with me, too. For me it was painful to read, not because the story was bad, but because it also kind of called up some things in my own life that were hard to think about. Falling in love can be so hard. I love that Kate and Ady admired things about her from the beginning, and that the story kind of helped reframe her certainty about what she wanted as a positive thing, even though it came with some really hard lessons.
I feel like the back cover copy is a teeny bit misleading because taking down the school bully is really one girl’s idea moreso than the others for most of the story. I thought from reading the cover copy that the story would focus on that takedown, and that doesn’t really emerge until late in the book. Each section does begin with what would be a screenshot of content posted to the online bullying site, so the bullying is a central part of the story that impacts many of the characters. Eventually the girls do all work together on a plan to make it happen, though.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book, though I found some of the content was hard for me personally. I’ve made notes below on other potential triggers in the book, so please check those out. Here’s my review of GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley, one of the TAKE THREE GIRLS authors, in case you’re interested in that, too.
Recommended for Ages 16 up.
One main character is bisexual. One main character is struggling with her weight.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used pretty frequently.
Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning for Sexual Bullying
Kissing between boy and girl. A man asks for nude photos of a sixteen-year-old girl, which she sends him. He also sends some explicit pictures to her. Several brief descriptions of sex and sexual acts. Kissing between two girls.
Each section includes a post from the PSST site which uses explicit, often sexual language to demean and bully girls whose real names are used.
One boy punches another in the face.
Underage drinking. One character discovers that her dad is an alcohol and cocaine addict.
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