The Secret Life of It Girls by Dakota Lane is an eye-opening and eye-catching piece of work. The pages are glossy and photo heavy. On first glance one might assume the text takes a back seat and is simply an after-thought to a photo project. That assumption would be wrong. The text, while sparse in places, perfectly complements the photos (and vice versa).
So, whats it all about? The Secret Life of It Girls is a series of thirteen vignettes that allow readers a glimpse into a few fleeting moments in a teenaged It Girls life, exposing jealousies, insecurities, drunken nights, broken families, and first loves.
As I started reading, I assumed that all the stories would be like the first, How an It Girl Became an Out Girl, a vicious and catty retelling of how a friend became an enemy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong. Some stories, such as Dear Dad which is written as a letter from a daughter to the musician father from whom she desperately needs acceptance and love, but in return has her letters turned into hit songs, and Beautiful Scars about a girl scarred from an auto accident who is forced to discover her true self and her true friends, are hopeful and moving. Others such as How to Fail Spanish (or at least the midterm) are just simply fun to read.
While the cattiness and viciousness does return in other parts of the book, Lane does not glorify or excuse the behavior. Nor does she turn to pedantic measures to get a point across. Instead, Lane includes a piece unaccompanied by photos or graphics entitled Dear It Girl. Written as a letter, Dear It Girl shows whats left in the glittery wake of an It Girl: the shunned, the mocked, the trampled upon, the lonely. The simplest piece in the book is, for me, the most effective.
Some of the pieces are slightly weak, both in style and in execution, and most of the pieces are written in an informal, conversational style (some txt speak, slang, and improper grammar) that might put some readers off. However, if one can look past these things, the end result is an entirely real and honest look into the lives of teenage girls in America.
Fictional stories based on the life of "It Girls," this book takes us through the ups, downs, secrets, gossip, triumphs, tribulations, and general cattiness of life as one of the popular ones. For these It Girls, it doesn't matter who you trample on to get to the top, as long as you get there - and stay there.
These girls use boys like pawns. They keep their friends close only as long as they agree with everything they say, and when they don't, then there's usually some type of scandal involved. They flaunt their bodies, they have mouths like sailors, and they have their parents tricked into believing they're princesses.
THE SECRET LIFE OF IT GIRLS is not a pretty book. It is, supposedly, a fictionalized account of true-life stories. I'm hoping, both as a woman and a parent, that it's not indicative of what so-called "It Girls" are really like. To me, being popular doesn't equate being as downright horrible as the girls in this book are. They're vicious, they're rude, and they are no one that I would want to hang around with - or would want my daughter to hang around with.
I admit that the story is an insightful look into a world that I knew little about. It's also a look into a world that I don't think I WANT to know anything about. It's scary, it's at times horrifying, and, if it really is THE SECRET LIFE OF IT GIRLS, it makes me hope that being one of them never falls onto my daughter's to-do-list.
I have no doubt that this book will appeal to teen girls the world over, whether one of the popular crowd or someone just wishing to be an It Girl. Regardless, this is a candid look into that secret world that will hopefully leave you with something to think about.