Released: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Jackie, Lettie, and Laura Beth are Washington D.C. socialites and best friends trying to get over the death of their friend Taylor. Jackie is dating the president's son, but their relationship is on the rocks due to some secrets both of them are keeping from each other. Then, when a new girl named Whitney arrives in town and the girls are forced to be friendly to her, things really start getting out of control.
This was completely unplanned, but I managed to read a YA book with politics in it the week before the election. Let me just say right off the bat that I really enjoyed Capital Girls and if you're looking for a book to celebrate election season (but who celebrates that? I'm just waiting for it to be over,) this is the book you need to pick up.
While the book tells the stories of the girls from their different points of view, it was Jackie's story that I felt was really the focus of the novel, and the one I was most interested in. The way her relationship was flaunted for the press astounded me, especially since the couple is only in high school and high school relationships rarely last or are that important (please don't send me hate mail for this opinion.) But each girl had her own problems. Lettie, for example, wasn't rich like the other girls and is constantly worried about her brother's safety in their native Paraguay. What was fabulous about Capital Girls was there was an excellent balance of frivolous girl drama, Washington D.C. political drama, and more serious issues that help the girls come off less like floozies and more like actual human beings. Each character was distinct with her own personality.
Of course, Whitney was a whole other bag of chips and that's not just because she's from California and the other girls think she's incapable of understanding the social structure around her. Whitney's mother is a huge tabloid gossip writer in California and she's practically blackmailing her own daughter for the juiciest secrets she can get on the Capital Girls. Whitney is an unlikeable character at first, but as the novel went on I got little glimpses at the real Whitney. Hopefully we'll get more of that as the series continues on. There's nothing better than the redemption of a mean girl.
But as I said, Capital Girls isn't just about the girls and their personal lives. The president in Capital Girls (who is a woman! Woot!) is trying to pass an immigration bill and we learn about about those who are for and against it, and what means they will go through to ensure their side "wins." Blackmail abounds. Now, I don't know how accurate this is to actual D.C. politics, but the whole thing was very interesting. Maybe we'll find out how that bill turned out in the next book.
Four stars! Capital Girls really drew me and I hated to put it down. The stories of the girls and how their lives - and secrets - were intertwined made for some very interesting reading, particularly by the end of the novel when part of truth about Taylor's death comes to light. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Secrets and Lies, which I just got from NetGalley! Seriously, pick this one up and give it a read if you like contemporaries.