Girl Meets Class
Genre: Southern Chick Lit
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: September 8, 2015
Number of pages: 266
The unspooling of Toni Lee Wells’ Tiffany and Wild Turkey lifestyle begins with a trip to the Luckett County Jail drunk tank. An earlier wrist injury sidelined her pro tennis career, and now she’s trading her tennis whites for wild nights roaming the streets of Rose Hill, Georgia.
Her wealthy family finally gets fed up with her shenanigans. They cut off her monthly allowance but also make her a sweetheart deal: Get a job, keep it for a year, and you’ll receive an early inheritance. Act the fool or get fired, and you’ll lose it for good.
Toni Lee signs up for a fast-track Teacher Corps program. She hopes for an easy teaching gig, but what she gets is an assignment to Harriet Hall, a high school that churns out more thugs than scholars.
What’s a spoiled Southern belle to do when confronted with a bunch of street smart students who are determined to make her life as difficult as possible? Luckily, Carl, a handsome colleague, is willing to help her negotiate the rough teaching waters and keep her bed warm at night. But when Toni Lee gets involved with some dark dealings in the school system, she fears she might lose her new beau as well as her inheritance.
I have become quite a fan of Henery Press, having discovered some really awesome authors through them. So when I got the chance to try another author, I didn't even think twice, but signed right up. I really should have taken a minute to have read the fine print. I was looking forward to another fantastic cozy mystery, and what I got was Southern Chick Lit. Not that there's anything wrong with that mind, it just took a bit for me to figure out that no dead body was going to show up anytime soon. (Yeah, I am apparently slow like that. *facepalm*)
Now, I am going to be very blunt and tell you that in the beginning, I didn't like Toni Lee. As a matter of fact, there came a point in the book where I put it down and stepped away from it; it just wasn't doing it for me... (Yes, that was also shortly after I realized that at about halfway through, no one was going to end up dead and that this was not the genre I had been anticipating.) However... See, I thought about it, and decided to go back in and give the book a little bit longer, without my brain being stuck in "cozy" mode. And the next thing I knew, I was hooked into the story. It started to pull at me and I became committed to finding out just what was going on at the school... Just like Toni Lee herself finally did.
I can't say that I ended up bonding with her character. After all, she was a real piece of work there for awhile. But I can say that by the end, I feel she was both redeemable and redeemed. I could concede that there were some valid reasons to how she ended up the way she did. Here was a character who had true growth during the course of the story and I could be happy for her happy ending. Needless to say, I was torn about a rating until I realized that the author took a character that I actively didn't like and turned her into someone I was cheering for at the end. For me, that is the mark of a great author and a good read. I would read this author again. I gave this 3 'I Liked It' stars. I
Thanks to Great Escapes, Netgalley and Henery Press for the opportunity to read and review the book.
Karin Gillespie is national bestselling author of five novels and a humor columnist for Augusta Magazine. Her nonfiction writing had been in the New York Times, The Writer Magazine and Romantic Times. She maintains a website and blog at Karingillespie.net. Sign up for her newsletter on her website, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.
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