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All Girls

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A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced. But as the months unfold, and the school's efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forc A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced. But as the months unfold, and the school's efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forced to discover their voices, and their power. A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world––when the world still isn't yours for the taking.


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A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced. But as the months unfold, and the school's efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forc A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced. But as the months unfold, and the school's efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forced to discover their voices, and their power. A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world––when the world still isn't yours for the taking.

30 review for All Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I always love the claustrophobic, ominous, dark, disturbing vibes of the stories take place in boarding school. And the quick, intriguing start throughout Lauren Triplett’s ride to school, seeing the signs on the road informs them there is a rapist at her new academy, gave me hope and hooked me up from the first pages. But after Lauren’s arrival to Atwater which is a special place of feminist intellectuals and progressive thinking , we learn more about rape allegations about a faculty member swep I always love the claustrophobic, ominous, dark, disturbing vibes of the stories take place in boarding school. And the quick, intriguing start throughout Lauren Triplett’s ride to school, seeing the signs on the road informs them there is a rapist at her new academy, gave me hope and hooked me up from the first pages. But after Lauren’s arrival to Atwater which is a special place of feminist intellectuals and progressive thinking , we learn more about rape allegations about a faculty member swept under the rug! But after bombarding of too many POVS and details about different school characters( yes: unfortunately each chapter is told by different student’s third POV) I truly got lost. It was more challenging to watch Netflix’s German series “Dark” and differentiate the characters’ names and which timelines they were coming from. I couldn’t catch the direction of the story, I couldn’t remember all those names and their back stories. I started to lose my interest and I finally gave up. It could be promising debut because the plot line and beginning was powerful but the way of story telling with nearly 100 POVs was mentally exhausting experience for me. I still want to read the next works of the author but unfortunately this didn’t work well with me. So I’m giving three solid stars only for promising start and intriguing plot line. Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this ARC with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    3.5 stars! All Girls has several elements of interest: a coming-of-age story, mystery involving a boarding school, strong female characters, friendships, and a scandal, and it tackles it all with nine distinct characters’ voices. While that worked for me because I got a strong sense of what was happening, I can also see how it wouldn’t work for everyone because of the number of characters. That said, All Girls is an important story. It takes place in 1995 when several female students are sexually 3.5 stars! All Girls has several elements of interest: a coming-of-age story, mystery involving a boarding school, strong female characters, friendships, and a scandal, and it tackles it all with nine distinct characters’ voices. While that worked for me because I got a strong sense of what was happening, I can also see how it wouldn’t work for everyone because of the number of characters. That said, All Girls is an important story. It takes place in 1995 when several female students are sexually assaulted, and the school has a crisis on its hands. I thought the author handled these difficult topics with sensitivity, and even with the number of characters, I felt close to them all because of the intimacy of the storytelling and how well-written it is. I think it’s best read considering it as connected stories rather than a singular plot, if that makes sense. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.Jennifer tarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Tl;dr: All Girls is a thoughtful examination of what being a teenage girl is like today. All Girls surprised me, and in the best possible way. I expected a standard tale--one girl's pov about a sex scandal at a prestigious New England boarding school--but instead got a richly woven tapestry about what it's like to be a girl. Not just what society wants from you, but what you want for yourself and what you can do in a world where you're told to be independent but curtailed by the adults around you Tl;dr: All Girls is a thoughtful examination of what being a teenage girl is like today. All Girls surprised me, and in the best possible way. I expected a standard tale--one girl's pov about a sex scandal at a prestigious New England boarding school--but instead got a richly woven tapestry about what it's like to be a girl. Not just what society wants from you, but what you want for yourself and what you can do in a world where you're told to be independent but curtailed by the adults around you and your own desires: to fit in, to stand out, to try and find understanding of/in a world that tells you can do anything but then limits you. From Lauren, to Mia, to Emma--to all the girls featured in All Girls--it was so refreshing to read about the experiences of not one, but many girls during their year, from freshman to senior, and how, in their corner of rarefied Connecticut, even these "privileged" girls are subject to everything all girls face. I think the book is thoughtful and nuanced, smart and never, ever pandering, and the title is spot on. All Girls will resonate with anyone who remembers their teen years and I expect it will have enormous crossover appeal to teens. This isn’t just a title for adults, and I expect it to generate a lot of discussion among readers of all ages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    2.5 stars Yes, my rating for this book is pretty low but I did get a few worthwhile things from the story. The main issue I had is there were too many characters and with each chapter featuring a new POV, it was too much. The story got lost with so many different voices. Atwater is an all girls boarding school located in Connecticut. At the beginning of the school year, a former student makes allegations of sexual misconduct against a teacher. The story starts off following Lauren, a new student a 2.5 stars Yes, my rating for this book is pretty low but I did get a few worthwhile things from the story. The main issue I had is there were too many characters and with each chapter featuring a new POV, it was too much. The story got lost with so many different voices. Atwater is an all girls boarding school located in Connecticut. At the beginning of the school year, a former student makes allegations of sexual misconduct against a teacher. The story starts off following Lauren, a new student at Atwater, and from there on a new character is featured each chapter throughout the course of the school year. While the schools handling of the allegations is a main plot point, the story gives a look at everything that comes with growing up as a female. There are a few moments in the story that really resonated with me. It was like I was transported back to being a fifteen year old girl and could totally relate to what a certain character was feeling or thinking. The author touched upon on how back in the 1990s certain subjects weren't really talked about and therefore it was hard for many of us growing up back then to adequately describe our experiences or feelings. And that hit me like a ton of bricks realizing that was spot on and how the girls of my generation and the ones before me, just didn't have all of the tools to help us navigate our way thru adolescence. But I also feel a sense of hope we are making strides in giving the girls of this generation more knowledge and building up their confidence so they are able to express themselves. There were some good, thought provoking moments here and there. However, I can't help but think some of the author's messaging got lost because of the way the book was executed with the multiple POVs. Somewhere around the start of the second half of the book, it became difficult for me to focus. I like when you can feel invested in the characters and with the way this book was set up, it wasn't really an option. Before you knew it, you were moving on to the next character. Even though I didn't like the story as a whole, it was worth reading for the couple powerful moments that resonated with me. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for giving me an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    I feel like all you needed to do was tell me that this was about a scandal in a prep school and my brain would just go YAAAAAASS I NEED A COPY BITCH

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    A sensitive and heartfelt debut novel about issues of sexual assault and consent at an all-girls boarding school. The nook confronts sexual assault in 1995, both as it was viewed then versus now in the #MeToo era. I really enjoy the way Emily Layden writes. She really captures the feelings and atmosphere of being a girl turning into a young woman at a boarding school. This book’s biggest strength is the same as its main weakness. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different student. A sensitive and heartfelt debut novel about issues of sexual assault and consent at an all-girls boarding school. The nook confronts sexual assault in 1995, both as it was viewed then versus now in the #MeToo era. I really enjoy the way Emily Layden writes. She really captures the feelings and atmosphere of being a girl turning into a young woman at a boarding school. This book’s biggest strength is the same as its main weakness. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different student. On one hand, this allows for a really richly layered and interesting reading experience that really gives you a great sense of the school and its population. On the other hand, as soon as you grew to love or become extra interested in a girl, the story switches to another girl’s perspective. Lauren, the new student who begins the book; Macy, who has a really interesting story of being phobic of many types of food; Emma, who comes from a very traditional background but has been brave enough to be out with her girlfriend, a fellow student. These were all characters whose voices I loved. I really would have enjoyed spending more than one chapter inside their heads. This is a promising debut on a timely subject from a really talented new writer. I’ll be looking out to see what she writes next. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Emily Layden for the ARC of this very well-written first novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    elisa

    ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review all girls by emily layden is listed on google as a mystery, though i struggle to call it even that. most would expect build-up, suspense, discovery. in this novel, there is little to none. instead, this is a book shrouded in bureaucracy, almost meta-fictive: syntactically tedious, safe, evasive. while an alumnae's alleged rape is placed at the center of an all-girls boarding school in 2015 new england, there is never any real sense of dan ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review all girls by emily layden is listed on google as a mystery, though i struggle to call it even that. most would expect build-up, suspense, discovery. in this novel, there is little to none. instead, this is a book shrouded in bureaucracy, almost meta-fictive: syntactically tedious, safe, evasive. while an alumnae's alleged rape is placed at the center of an all-girls boarding school in 2015 new england, there is never any real sense of danger and so the stakes remain minimal throughout the course of the narrative, even as faculty is swept up in sexual misconduct accusations and the ensuing public scrutiny. by nature, the 1995 rape disrupts the contemporary culture of atwater in a very secondhand way, allowing current teenage girls to reevaluate their own sexual language, ideas, and even experiences. as such, the novel spends most of its time contemplating girls growing up too fast, or else girls clambering to keep up with the thrashing tide. the premise is promising without any knowledge of the novel's execution—though never at any point a mystery, unless readers are interested in the fate of the physical setting itself, rather than its inhabitants. the question of who's behind several acts intended to pressure the school into addressing the rape is answered at the very end of the novel, with no lead-in or time to collect clues, culminating in an ultimately unsatisfying and arguably head-scratching conclusion. this is largely the fault of the novel's set-up. all girls opens with lauren triplett, a wide-eyed freshman fascinated by signs accusing atwater of employing a rapist during her drive to campus on move-in day. this is a notably strong entry point into what i assumed would be a harrowing journey, though most of the novel's strengths end here. each chapter follows a new girl navigating atwater, volleying between grades, campus familiarity—or lack thereof—and varying degrees of involvement in the central "mystery" plot. the novel never settles and so readers are left scrambling to understand an ever-shifting narrative trying to capture too many angles at too slow a pace. right when i felt like i was getting comfortable in a student's head, the novel pivoted and tossed a new character (and, by consequence, a new web of relationships) at my feet. in other words, it's impossible to ever feel comfortable reading all girls. less so when the central thread—a former student's rape—weakens with every chapter. attempts at capturing stories and lives are cut short by the choppy choice in third-person head-switching, so that very few characters ever have a chance to feel anything more than vapid or allegorical. it's true that readers sign up for this when the synopsis calls the novel one "told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students"—"unforgettable" being the ironic operative word. still, selecting a few essential students to rotate between as the plot thickens would seem smarter than splitting time between throw-away characters who do little to advance the so-called mystery. the head-shifting becomes particularly egregious in the final chapter, which is divided into fragmented vignettes from six separate seniors, most of whom, for the last 300 or so pages, were so uninvolved in the narrative as to be meaningless to readers after a nonexistent climax. the effect is less novelistic and more like a short story collection. in fact, i can't help but think all girls would have been stronger in this format. as it is, the most interesting and plot-central characters receive the very least—olivia anderson, for example, head proctor and liaison to the administration on campus, introduced in chapter one and present throughout the novel, receives only one small perspective-specific vignette at the end. which leads me to another issue i took with the novel. i was more often bewildered with the language used in and around students of color than not. olivia, for example, is one in several victims—and a repeated one, at that—of the novel's preoccupation with the idea of the token non-white girl or diversity scapegoat. instead of serving as a commentary on racist education practices, which i'm sure was the purpose of these references, olivia becomes just that, existing only through the ways she's consumed by others. she's never allowed to escape this racial perception. until the absolute end, this is her fate from even those closest to her, with no narrative remorse. attempts to—briefly, fleetingly—humanize herself are met with disregard. olivia is not humanizing herself, but pulling out "a trump card." even as i type this review, i'm struggling to understand whether lines like, "...she can see that a few of the chinese students are home, the girls whose english never really caught up, despite three years of immersive-language study," are supposed to reflect the insular perspectives of white boarding school campuses or whether they're simply unintentionally absurd. finally, there is the prose, which is often gratuitously descriptive, particularly where similes are concerned: "the buildings grow like runway models, now: tall and skinny and twisting in the wind," and, two pages later, "...his red windbreaker billowing behind him like a smallish parachute." this works to slow down the narrative, while alternately heightening all girls’ strong sense for aesthetic. you would be hard pressed to find a passage that more needlessly captures the teenage, the obsessive, the grotesque: "she counts a smattering of blackheads at her chin. she begins by flicking a nail across a small whitehead near her eyebrow, listening to the tiny pop as it bursts. she examines the damage—minimal, none really, just a little red mark where there used to be a mountaintop of pus. leaning closer to the mirror, she places her forefingers on either side of the tip of her nose and then drags them in opposite directions, stretching the skin, before moving her fingers toward one another again. she watches as strings of discharge sprout from her pores, long and thin and solid enough to stand on end, like tiny bacterial beanstalks." while not the biggest fan of the prose, i have to commend the novel for its ability to really ground itself in its setting. it is superbly fleshed out and the strongest foundation throughout the narrative. atwater—all its beauty, its twists and turns, its layers of history—are practically movie-rendered. the prose is bolstered in this regard. moving through the campus feels more than believable; it feels like layden is transferring a real place to the page. standout chapters like "fall fest" and "retrospectives" soar as the characters alternately connect and/or disagree with this setting. the other strong point in the novel is undeniably the digital. the interludes, specifically, that separate each character's chapter/section, always serve to enhance the narrative and add something new/surprising to our glimpses of life on campus. likewise, all girls' understanding of teenage relationships with technology is impressive—certainly some of the strongest i've seen explored. the presence of tumblr and its ties to lgbt identity, in particular, are extremely well-done. it's hard to truly summarize how i feel about this book, since the reading experience was so disjointed, but i have to say, mystery excluded, all girls is a slow, thoughtful rumination about power within the walls of western institutions—and to what ends that power is used—with several glaring problems. its nature writing is memorable and atwater leaps off of the page. more than that, though, its work to capture the realities of sex and sexual assault through adolescent eyes—the horrors, the embarrassments, the confusions and retrospective realizations—are impressive. for those with the patience and willpower, this is worth the read, if only for the social commentary it provides on sex.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    This book was a poignant and sensitive novel exploring sexuality, women's issues, sexual assault, and how the era of #MeToo was felt in an elite boarding school rocked by scandal. Thank you so much to Emily Layden and St. Martin’s Press for this debut that comes out February 16th. This book was about an elite boarding school in Connecticut that is linked to a sexual scandal. The school tries to control the crisis, while the girls deal with each of their individual issues. The book follows nine gi This book was a poignant and sensitive novel exploring sexuality, women's issues, sexual assault, and how the era of #MeToo was felt in an elite boarding school rocked by scandal. Thank you so much to Emily Layden and St. Martin’s Press for this debut that comes out February 16th. This book was about an elite boarding school in Connecticut that is linked to a sexual scandal. The school tries to control the crisis, while the girls deal with each of their individual issues. The book follows nine girls, each chapter exploring a different piece of the story. The story combines the power of the elite with the struggles many women have gone through in their lives, as well as navigating adolescence. Thoughts: I thought this book was well-written and very timely. It was a coming of age story that looked at many different student’s attending a prestigious private school. I really enjoyed how each chapter was told from a different perspective and gave you different information. Each one is so interesting, and I actually felt myself wanting more of some chapter instead of them ending, sometimes abruptly. It is in NO WAY a mystery or thriller, which was also a bit of a letdown after being marketed as such. I wish books would be more accurately labeled, so readers would know exactly what they are getting into. Nevertheless, this story was a heartfelt narrative that explored meaningful topics. 3-stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    All Girls is a book that should’ve worked for me but just didn’t. It follows a variety of girls during one year of HS at an all girls boarding school. It started out really strong as one incoming freshman drives to campus with her parents and they see signs claiming a rapist works at the school. So a great. intriguing and powerful premise that just wasn’t executed well for me. There were just way too many viewpoints here, every chapter is from a new POV and just when I would be warming up to a n All Girls is a book that should’ve worked for me but just didn’t. It follows a variety of girls during one year of HS at an all girls boarding school. It started out really strong as one incoming freshman drives to campus with her parents and they see signs claiming a rapist works at the school. So a great. intriguing and powerful premise that just wasn’t executed well for me. There were just way too many viewpoints here, every chapter is from a new POV and just when I would be warming up to a new character, the chapter would end and another new person was introduced. The strong messages got lost in this style for me unfortunately and truly the only thing that kept me going was the excellent audio narration. This had a full cast of narrators and they were all great, so if you’re interested in this book I highly recommend the audio. ⭐️⭐️ stars for the book but ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for the narration leaves me at a 2.5-3 overall 🤷🏻‍♀️

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    2.5 stars, rounded up I generally like boarding school stories, and the timeliness of the subject matter of sexual assault appealed to me. This book, however, suffers from introducing way too many characters, too many points of view. So many so that I got dizzy and confused and had a difficult time following what was even going on. I need to be able to connect with a character (or at the most three or four, but this was excessive, well over 50, but with nine main characters) and while I see what 2.5 stars, rounded up I generally like boarding school stories, and the timeliness of the subject matter of sexual assault appealed to me. This book, however, suffers from introducing way too many characters, too many points of view. So many so that I got dizzy and confused and had a difficult time following what was even going on. I need to be able to connect with a character (or at the most three or four, but this was excessive, well over 50, but with nine main characters) and while I see what the author was trying to do with this book by showing us how complex and pervasive different issues are with teens, it just didn't work for me. The themes explored here are important and meaningful, and the writing is pretty good, so I did round up rather than down, but the execution of the plot was so convoluted that I couldn't rate it any higher. I would read something else by this author in the future. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    The author’s debut starts with assurance and an intriguing narrative set in an elite girls’ boarding school. (Think Curtis Sittenfeld’s cult classic PREP.) But I DNF, for the same reason I DNF PREP. The boarding school world interests me not at all. I could not relate to sniveling teens and their artificial lives. Just me. I’m sure PREP lovers will adore ALL GIRLS. To each her own! Pub Date 16 Feb 2021 Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #AllGirls #Net The author’s debut starts with assurance and an intriguing narrative set in an elite girls’ boarding school. (Think Curtis Sittenfeld’s cult classic PREP.) But I DNF, for the same reason I DNF PREP. The boarding school world interests me not at all. I could not relate to sniveling teens and their artificial lives. Just me. I’m sure PREP lovers will adore ALL GIRLS. To each her own! Pub Date 16 Feb 2021 Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #AllGirls #NetGalley

  12. 5 out of 5

    ahaana ☽

    All Girls is an eye-opening debut about finding yourself in the most unfamiliar situations. Unique, and captivating, it’s also about finding family in those around you, and not being afraid to voice your opinions even in places no one wants to hear them. I admired the way the author approached so many sensitive themes and topics, while not shying away, because these are such important topics to talk about, but there are just not enough people talking about them. Seeing all these perspectives sea All Girls is an eye-opening debut about finding yourself in the most unfamiliar situations. Unique, and captivating, it’s also about finding family in those around you, and not being afraid to voice your opinions even in places no one wants to hear them. I admired the way the author approached so many sensitive themes and topics, while not shying away, because these are such important topics to talk about, but there are just not enough people talking about them. Seeing all these perspectives seamlessly transition from one to another, and just being able to view all these diverse points POVs on the same topic, was something I cherished. All Girls was an enthralling, poignant book that kept me hooked till the last page, and managed to capture both my heart, and my attention. READ MY FULL REVIEW OF ALL GIRLS HERE!

  13. 4 out of 5

    AnnaLuce

    DNF I'm not sure why I keep doing this to myself. If you are a die-hard fan of the 'boarding school' subgenre you will probably enjoy this. Maybe it's my fault, maybe I'm just not in a 'YA' mindset but I have 0 interest in reading about this kind of tired dynamics. The writing did not help: the billboards idea seems a bit of a rip-off from a certain film, then we have descriptions such as "Her skin is smooth and poreless and racially ambiguous" (which begs the question, is 'racially ambiguous' a DNF I'm not sure why I keep doing this to myself. If you are a die-hard fan of the 'boarding school' subgenre you will probably enjoy this. Maybe it's my fault, maybe I'm just not in a 'YA' mindset but I have 0 interest in reading about this kind of tired dynamics. The writing did not help: the billboards idea seems a bit of a rip-off from a certain film, then we have descriptions such as "Her skin is smooth and poreless and racially ambiguous" (which begs the question, is 'racially ambiguous' a skin colour? Couldn't the author have described her skin tone ?), "Bryce is naturally thin, grown-up thin", and my 'favourite', "Their skin gleams like Gwyneth Paltrow's" (what kind of teenager would use Paltrow as a descriptor for 'gleaming' skin ? Wouldn't Beyoncé, who, like her or not, is an actual icon, have been a better fit here?). Anyway, I'm too old or too jaded with this genre. I'm sure other readers will enjoy this much more than I was.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Review coming soon.

  15. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of ALL GIRLS by Emily Layden in exchange for my honest review.*** For as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to boarding school, possibly due to the Madeline books about little girls in two straight lines. Now I’ll still do anything to get my hands on a boarding school book, so I knew ALL GIRLS would be a must read. I fell right into freshman Lauren Triplett’s ride to school, seeing signs at announced a rapist at her all girls’ academ ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of ALL GIRLS by Emily Layden in exchange for my honest review.*** For as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to boarding school, possibly due to the Madeline books about little girls in two straight lines. Now I’ll still do anything to get my hands on a boarding school book, so I knew ALL GIRLS would be a must read. I fell right into freshman Lauren Triplett’s ride to school, seeing signs at announced a rapist at her all girls’ academy, eager to read the fall out. Unfortunately, each chapter was told from a different student’s third person point of view, so readers aren’t able to see an individual’s perspective for the entire school year. Emily Layden fleshed out each character so that she felt like a real person, rather than just a character in a book. The topical story about a rape allegation swept under the rug, the victim dismissed and even blame could have very well been nonfiction. Layden’s storytelling is less “ripped from thr headlines” and more “let me tell you what happened at my school”, because sexual abuse and coverup is so pervasive sensationalization does a disservice to victims and secondary victims. Ultimately, ALL GIRLS left me wanting more, one girl’s whole story of that pivotal year.

  16. 4 out of 5

    A Paperback Life

    I wish I could say, “you have to read this book!” but I can’t. It’s also not one I feel like I have to dissuade you from reading. Personally, I didn’t think it was particularly good or bad; it was just okay. Picture this: We’re at a prestigious 4-year boarding school in Connecticut. We’re following 9 girls as they start their academic year unlike any other as a rape allegation resurfaces against one of the male teachers and a student that attended the school 20 years earlier. I appreciate the co I wish I could say, “you have to read this book!” but I can’t. It’s also not one I feel like I have to dissuade you from reading. Personally, I didn’t think it was particularly good or bad; it was just okay. Picture this: We’re at a prestigious 4-year boarding school in Connecticut. We’re following 9 girls as they start their academic year unlike any other as a rape allegation resurfaces against one of the male teachers and a student that attended the school 20 years earlier. I appreciate the conversation this tried to have about how women are rarely believed when they speak out about their sexual assault and the lengths schools will go to save their prestigious names, even if it means letting a rapist teach at their schools. Unfortunately, the way it was written took away from the impact. In each section of the book, we’re following one of the nine girls, and the way the story was priced together made it feel like I was reading 9 short stories rather than one cohesive story. There were just so many characters in such a short amount of time that I couldn’t find myself really caring for any of them. I even found myself forgetting most of their names as I was reading the book, which makes me wonder if the characters weren’t interesting enough for me to remember. Or maybe I just have a horrible memory. Thank you St. Martin's Press for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    Genre:/Literary Fiction/Women’s Fiction Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Pub. Date: Feb. 16, 2021 My rating: 2.5 Mini-Review This novel is marketed for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld’s, “Prep,” which I am. That novel is set in an American boarding school, “a hotbed of privilege, ambition, and neurosis, every bit as snobbish and competitive as anything dreamed up on this side of the Atlantic”. ... Google Books. That pretty much sums up “All Girls” but, add in a sexual assault of a former student by a male tea Genre:/Literary Fiction/Women’s Fiction Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Pub. Date: Feb. 16, 2021 My rating: 2.5 Mini-Review This novel is marketed for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld’s, “Prep,” which I am. That novel is set in an American boarding school, “a hotbed of privilege, ambition, and neurosis, every bit as snobbish and competitive as anything dreamed up on this side of the Atlantic”. ... Google Books. That pretty much sums up “All Girls” but, add in a sexual assault of a former student by a male teacher that took place twenty years ago. The girl is now a woman, who wants revenge on the school for kicking her out and covering up the teacher’s crime. The girls in the present, attempt to figure out who the teacher was so the story morphs into a mystery. The reader will follow nine students, which would have been okay if the author had spent time on their character development. However, this is not the case. Each character comes and goes so quickly that there is no time to be acquainted with them. It is easy to get lost on who is who. This is a shame because the novel has much potential. Layden does such a good job of capturing boarding school female teenage angst. With a good editor, “All Girls” would then read more like “Prep.” I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review. Find all my book reviews at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list… https://books6259.wordpress.com/ https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review… https://www.facebook.com/martie.neesr… https://www.instagram.com/martie6947/ https://www.pinterest.com/martienreco…\ https://www.amazon.com/ https://twitter.com/NeesRecord

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allison Krulik

    I really had high hopes for this book. The opening chapter grabbed my attention and I really though it was going to be intense. I feel that the message the author was trying to get across was missed due to, basically, too much going on. Too many point of views and too many stories. Also, there didn't seem to be any climax... I waited... and waited... but the story fell flat. Thank you to the publisher St. Martin's Press for the free advanced copy in exchange for a review. I really had high hopes for this book. The opening chapter grabbed my attention and I really though it was going to be intense. I feel that the message the author was trying to get across was missed due to, basically, too much going on. Too many point of views and too many stories. Also, there didn't seem to be any climax... I waited... and waited... but the story fell flat. Thank you to the publisher St. Martin's Press for the free advanced copy in exchange for a review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paula Phillips

    Even though this book is written in the way that it could come across as a women's fiction novel, the level of language and the characters' personalities comes across as very YA feel. This novel is set at an all-girls boarding school in the year 2015 called Atwater. It is Lauren and her new friends a first year, driving up to the school - they are bombarded with what looks like election signs proclaiming that the school has a teacher who is a rapist. The novel then follows several of the student Even though this book is written in the way that it could come across as a women's fiction novel, the level of language and the characters' personalities comes across as very YA feel. This novel is set at an all-girls boarding school in the year 2015 called Atwater. It is Lauren and her new friends a first year, driving up to the school - they are bombarded with what looks like election signs proclaiming that the school has a teacher who is a rapist. The novel then follows several of the students' experiences in the school from hazing to initiations to the life of being part of the campus in general. All with the undertones of trying to work out which teacher was accused of rape and the consequences that the student had coming forward in 1995 and the school just sweeping it under the rug as of course this is considered bad publicity for the school. All Girls felt very realistic as you can imagine what schools would have been like back in 1995 which was years before this #MeToo Movement and also boarding schools/ private schools have more often than not a reputation to uphold and don't need this staining their perfect records and image. All Girls by Emily Layden was also a slow-paced read and at times the characters did feel a bit immature but overall was a thought-provoking novel as we think about how far we have come in terms of the #MeToo movement and what it is has meant for the development of rape accusations in today's world as things like this are taken more seriously now and a lot of women are now being listened too, whereas in 1995 - it was mainly he said/she said and without any evidence, it was seen as simple hearsay and if the person was in a position of power, the odds were in their corner to come out on top rather than the victims.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Atwater is a prestigious all girls prep school in Connecticut which attracts the best and the brightest. They have a stellar image until an alum announces that 20ish years ago, she was raped by a faculty member when she was a senior at the school. She says the school covered it up and asked her to leave. She also says the teacher wasn't punished and still works at the school. Over the course of a school year, we see the impact of this scandal on 7 different girls at the school. They each have is Atwater is a prestigious all girls prep school in Connecticut which attracts the best and the brightest. They have a stellar image until an alum announces that 20ish years ago, she was raped by a faculty member when she was a senior at the school. She says the school covered it up and asked her to leave. She also says the teacher wasn't punished and still works at the school. Over the course of a school year, we see the impact of this scandal on 7 different girls at the school. They each have issues of their own, most related to power, sex, or being their true self. Each section of the book is told from the 3rd person point of view of a different student. It was almost like 7 interconnected short stories. The overarching narrative was more about the school and how the faculty and students address the scandal than it was about any of the individual girls. I connected with some of the students more than others and wish I could have followed their stories for longer. It was a challenge to remember which girl was which between the various sections. There were too many characters, in my opinion. The book would have had more impact for me, if the number of POV's was reduced What to listen to while reading... Campus by Vampire Weekend Youth by Daughter Read All About It, Pt III by Emeli Sande Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood Comfort Crowd by Conan Gray Hallelujah by k.d. lang Out of My League by Fitz & the Tantrums Teenage Talk by St. Vincent Stubborn Love by The Lumineers Call your Girlfriend by Robyn Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I liked this. I'd glanced at the reviews, so I knew it was told by a different POV each chapter, which was a good thing to be prepared for. I just . . . it did a good job of showing the world as it is, both the flaws AND the good things. Like, it didn't feel without hope, you know? It didn't make me feel like boarding schools were a terribly evil thing, which I kinda thought it might. Also what a perfect title for the book. All Girls. Yes. (I didn't go to boarding school, but I was one of those kid I liked this. I'd glanced at the reviews, so I knew it was told by a different POV each chapter, which was a good thing to be prepared for. I just . . . it did a good job of showing the world as it is, both the flaws AND the good things. Like, it didn't feel without hope, you know? It didn't make me feel like boarding schools were a terribly evil thing, which I kinda thought it might. Also what a perfect title for the book. All Girls. Yes. (I didn't go to boarding school, but I was one of those kids who super wanted to. :D)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Schulman

    I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review This book started off petty strong but wound up going too many places, never once circling back to one girl or idea. Very much a three star book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Giachino

    This book has a great opening chapter introducing the reader to the character Lauren and setting the stage for her start at an all girls boarding school. Upon arrival, she sees signs that suggest a rapist lives on campus. Immediately attention grabbing; however the rest of this book fell flat. Each chapter is told from the POV of a different student with little connecting each character to one another or the main story line of sexual assault on campus. The individual chapters would share insight This book has a great opening chapter introducing the reader to the character Lauren and setting the stage for her start at an all girls boarding school. Upon arrival, she sees signs that suggest a rapist lives on campus. Immediately attention grabbing; however the rest of this book fell flat. Each chapter is told from the POV of a different student with little connecting each character to one another or the main story line of sexual assault on campus. The individual chapters would share insight, emotion, and experiences yet left me wanting to know more about that character's story as the book went on. I hoped the second half would go back to each character and expand on their story, but it did not. Often you would get to a climax moment only to have a page or two of the chapter left for a quick finish and onto the next character. I also struggled because there truly is no climax in the story; within each chapter you found the peak and fall. Each chapter continues through the year and some have no reflection on the main issues presented to the reader. I often got lost in the story as various characters were introduced and connected to other characters I knew little/nothing about. It was a struggle to finish this book as I was not following a major story line and eager to know the outcome, rather each chapter presented something totally new.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “All Girls” is a captivating story that dwells into the students’ lives and drama in an elite prep school, and I liked it. I thought the author did a lovely job for a debut novel. At times, I felt like I was reading a book of short stories because you can read each chapter as a stand-alone. Moreover, I enjoyed the level of details the author put into the storyline and the characters. Each character stands out from one another [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “All Girls” is a captivating story that dwells into the students’ lives and drama in an elite prep school, and I liked it. I thought the author did a lovely job for a debut novel. At times, I felt like I was reading a book of short stories because you can read each chapter as a stand-alone. Moreover, I enjoyed the level of details the author put into the storyline and the characters. Each character stands out from one another and experiences something different about their prep school life. Some of them come from different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, and I enjoyed reading their storylines. One of my favorite passages was when the characters talk about the sand mandala and its significance. There are some storylines that I felt were powerful. My favorite ones were the “Fall Fest” revolving around Chloe and “Field Trip” revolving around Sloane. Also, the author interestingly formats each chapter that ends with the end correspondence on a parallel storyline. However, I initially picked up this book because it markets itself in the mystery genre. But, there is not much of a mystery element. The story begins in a pleasant suspenseful manner, but the storyline revolving around the rapist always takes a backseat and is resolved halfway. While I enjoyed all the girls’ storylines, the story felt it lacked a higher plot that connects all of them. I had hoped that storylines revolving around the character (from each chapter) would get together and culminate in a higher storyline towards the end. Overall, I think “All Girls” would have been amazing if it had an overarching storyline with a better direction. Nevertheless, it is still entertaining at times and worth reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jazz Webb

    All Girls is set in the school Atwater. We follow the lives of many different students over the academic year which is filled with talk about sex and abuse. With ex pupil Karen accusing one of the teachers of rape, a friendly vigilante starts a campaign in support of Karen and leaving the teachers and students questioning how well the school informs and protects the students in regard to all matters of sex. So I had no idea what to expect when I starting reading All Girls, I must admit I was plea All Girls is set in the school Atwater. We follow the lives of many different students over the academic year which is filled with talk about sex and abuse. With ex pupil Karen accusing one of the teachers of rape, a friendly vigilante starts a campaign in support of Karen and leaving the teachers and students questioning how well the school informs and protects the students in regard to all matters of sex. So I had no idea what to expect when I starting reading All Girls, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I love the fact that even though we don't follow just one student but several, yet I felt I got to know each of the students whose life we got a snap shot of. All these girls are dealing with their own issues, eating disorders, body dismorphia, sexual confusion, finding their place in life and so on. All the issues each girl is suffering from are all so true to form. I can remember being that age and having issues with some that are mentioned throughout the novel. I loved the vigilante element of the story we ate kept guessing throughout. Who is the person fighting against the injustice for Karen. I must say I didn't have a clue and was quite surprised. I also really liked the whole idea of the school having to make a public decision based on the accusation. Further the conversations that are meant to happen regarding sex whilst you are in education seem to start, with a long way to go. It's written really well with a third person narrator however the description is so intense that I could truly picture it myself Honestly just loved this book would I recommend yes ofcourse. Its an easy book to read but had a few trigger points regarding rape so if that's something you think might be too much to read , however it is possible to skip a few paragraphs and continuing on. This is very much a coming of age book and this truly highlights the important roll education plays in young people. As well as the lack of knowledge surrounding sex all had as young people and where the line of consent. Easy 4 stars. Thank you to netgalley, the author and the publishers for the advanced digital copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I love a good novel in a school setting and this one checked all the boxes! Layden follows nine girls at a prestigious all-girls boarding school as they face the challenges of school, friendships, and boy problems--all amidst a scandal of an alleged rape of a previous student by a male faculty member. It's an honest and straight-forward look at contemporary society and the issues our kids face as they navigate high school, social media, and the often-blurred lines of right and wrong. It's just a I love a good novel in a school setting and this one checked all the boxes! Layden follows nine girls at a prestigious all-girls boarding school as they face the challenges of school, friendships, and boy problems--all amidst a scandal of an alleged rape of a previous student by a male faculty member. It's an honest and straight-forward look at contemporary society and the issues our kids face as they navigate high school, social media, and the often-blurred lines of right and wrong. It's just a lovely, heartfelt coming-of-age story that will resonate long after the final page. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tori (alwaysbookphoenix) Kisamore

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion. “All Girls” had such a promising premise but it fell flat. Each chapter is a different girls’ perspective which really muddied the entire book for me. Trigger warning: sexual assault. The book centers around this all girls boarding school where a student is suing because she was assaulted by a teacher and never received true justice. Each different girls’ perspective sometimes o Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion. “All Girls” had such a promising premise but it fell flat. Each chapter is a different girls’ perspective which really muddied the entire book for me. Trigger warning: sexual assault. The book centers around this all girls boarding school where a student is suing because she was assaulted by a teacher and never received true justice. Each different girls’ perspective sometimes offered an interesting story involving this main premise but then some perspectives would have nothing to do with the rest of the book. There was just way too much going on. However, I will say that the book itself is well-written and there is a lot of promise here. Teenage girls are more complicated than one might think and many different issues are attempted to be tackled in this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    All Girls, by Emily Layden, is an ensemble novel set in a girls boarding school in Connecticut. It's more a series of interesting vignettes over an academic year than a plot with a resolution. The girls' varied experiences touch many topics -- sexual consent, stereotypes, classism, power dynamics, racism, abuse, gender presentation, and more. Too many, perhaps, because the book never quite draws a conclusion or makes a statement. Most of the scenes were girls at a turning point or realization, wi All Girls, by Emily Layden, is an ensemble novel set in a girls boarding school in Connecticut. It's more a series of interesting vignettes over an academic year than a plot with a resolution. The girls' varied experiences touch many topics -- sexual consent, stereotypes, classism, power dynamics, racism, abuse, gender presentation, and more. Too many, perhaps, because the book never quite draws a conclusion or makes a statement. Most of the scenes were girls at a turning point or realization, with insightful characterizations and descriptions, but we rarely see the consequences of these moments. Instead, it's on to another character, creating an interesting ramble through private-school adolescence, but with way too many characters to keep straight. I liked how the young women's experiences were taken seriously and their emotions were valued throughout the book. Many of the vignettes relate to sexual consent or men "getting a little weird" as one of the alums describes it, including  a whisper network of which classes to avoid, but it never really formed a narrative or led to a conclusion.  I was very interested while I was reading, but I realized at the end of the book that I'd been waiting for the meandering stories to coalesce into something more, and it never quite did.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shkolnikjx

    An excellent boarding school mystery that kept me engaged throughout the entire journey. The writer’s depiction of the characters was spot on. Highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    For the life of me I couldn't get interested in this whatsoever! While I made an effort because the subject matter was important -the way in which it came up-via emails and articles wasn't quite hitting the mark. Rape is important, allegations of rape is equally important, the cover up with the school while having a teacher continue to maintain rank and file after twenty years was important, the girls who accused said teacher of misconduct was vital- yet, it was plenty of fluff, plenty of sexual e For the life of me I couldn't get interested in this whatsoever! While I made an effort because the subject matter was important -the way in which it came up-via emails and articles wasn't quite hitting the mark. Rape is important, allegations of rape is equally important, the cover up with the school while having a teacher continue to maintain rank and file after twenty years was important, the girls who accused said teacher of misconduct was vital- yet, it was plenty of fluff, plenty of sexual escapades in corn fields, plenty of sexual gender identity and teen drama but not much in terms of concrete examination of facts or rendering of the complaint at hand. While, a settlement was ultimately reached in this matter-the end result was much like we see today-resignations, retirements, and pensions still being paid out without remorse, accountability, or even justice. This book was too all over the place with the constant bombardment of new characters, new scenes, new dramas and felt like nothing was ever solved or dealt with in the manner it should've been for all parties involved. I just had no interest in this one and sadly can't say much beyond what's here before you today. The fact that a now 38 year old woman named Karen Mirro had to endure such trauma was sickening. The fact, very few even wanted to address the issue and support her is also in play. The other characters like Bella, Chloe, Caroline/Sloane, Abby, Emma, Olivia, Patricia Brodie (head of the school -retired) and more served little to add to the central focus. Thank you to Emily, the pub, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

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