Book Review: Local Girls by Caroline Zancan

Lately I just can’t seem to get enough of reading. I’m flying through books and I absolutely love it. This book is not a normal pick for me. The cover looks like a YA romance and the description kind of reads like one. The reason I picked up this book was Book Riot’s Rebecca Schinsky’s recommendation on the All the Books podcast. She gave a great sell for the book.

Just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with YA romance. I’ve just read a lot of that in my teenage years and I’ve moved onto other genres. I still read a fair amount of YA, but I look for something more than teenage white girl falls in love with boy sort of thing.

This book was not that at all. The story is narrated by Maggie, a nineteen-year-old girl with two best friends. They live in Florida and didn’t go to college so they are left with mundane jobs and they hang out at a local bar called the Shamrock. One night they meet a famous actor in there and hang out with him for the evening. In between their conversations the narrative flashes back to high school when a fourth friend, Lila, fell out of the group. The story goes through why she left and explains the complicated friendships while the parallel narrative in the bar takes a look at the price of celebrity fame.

Zancan brilliantly depicts the complicated friendships that females have with one another. The mix of love, admiration, cruelty, jealousy and selfishness is so clear on these pages. I immediately identified with these relationships. You also get to see how each girl grows up and matures and how that effects their dynamics with one another.

The storyline involving the actor wasn’t as strong for me but I do like the stylistic choice she made of putting one story inside of another one. It did show another aspect of growing up, realizing that the people you idolize are just normal people and have lots of problems. 

I thought this book was very well done and I think it’s severely underrated. I think any girl could relate to this book, it really gives an honest look at female friendship.

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