Cover Image: Tracy Flick Can't Win

Tracy Flick Can't Win

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Member Reviews

I loved Election and Tracy Flick Can't Win takes the same multiple POV narration and places the story decades past the events of Election and in a post Me Too movement world.
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This is a sequel to Perrotta’s beloved Election, taking place many years later. Tracy is all grown up and is now the assistant principal and a high school in New Jersey. She is delighted when the principal announces his retirement, leaving a door open for Tracy to get promoted. Tracy’s life is full and complicated: she has a daughter, a boyfriend and interests beyond the scope of school. Working at a school has brough back some unpleasant memories from her own high school experience. This book will delight most nostalgic fans of Election, if you’re willing to be taken along for a ride through her ruminations about the past. While I have a fondness for Tracy Flick, this novel felt, at times, unfocused and left me feeling uninvested. Thank you to Scribner for the advanced review copy.
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This book is a sequel to Tom Perrotta’s Election, which before it was a movie with a very young Reese Witherspoon, was a book - a bit of a satire about multiple characters including Tracy Flick, a high school senior gunning for class president. The book came out, and I read it, all the way back in 1998!

Now, more than two decades later, Perrotta wrote this book, also set mostly around a high school, now one where Tracy Flick is the vice principal, and told from many perspectives including various other people who work at the school and who are or were students there.

This book is less satirical - it feels in some ways like the author’s reckoning with the ways in which some parts of Election have not aged well. So this is definitely a different take on things like me too, LGBTQ teens, and more. Though there is still definitely social commentary. I definitely appreciated the different take on Tracy’s character, though this book also made me feel sad because of what has happened to her - but I love that she’s much more fleshed out emotionally here. There were probably too many characters and a little too much going on in this book overall, but it was very readable.

3.75 stars
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As a huge fan of the movie Election I could not wait to dig into Tracy Flick Can't Win. Tracy, to me, is a love to hate type of character. When we last visited Tracy she was in Washington DC pursuing her dreams, and likely seeking world domination. As we revisit her she is now a single mom/ assistant principal working at Green Meadow High School. Deep down, and somewhat on the surface, Tracy is the same old character we got to know all those years ago. 
In addition to Tracy there are a whole slew of supporting characters that help to tell the story of the first ever Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. The schools principal, current students, and alumni all give us glimpses into their lives and the behind the scenes tidbits leading up to the ceremony. I enjoyed all the different perspectives. The writing is great. The ceremony itself took a sharp turn and left me shocked...not in a good way. This book is dark comedy, quirky, and does not sugar coat in the least bit. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for a copy of Tom Perrotta’s Tracy Flick Can’t Win. 

Perrotta returns to one of his most memorable characters, Tracy Flick, in this sequel to his best-selling novel, Election. In Tracy Flick Can’t Win, we find Flick in her forties,  a divorced single-mother working as a high school vice-principal. When the long-time principal announces his upcoming retirement, Flick starts the interview process for the promotion. Her strong work-ethic, high morals, and innovative ideas still can’t manage to eclipse her inability to connect on a social level. Just like in high school, Flick sees her dreams slipping away as more popular/less qualified candidates take center stage. 

Perrotta is one of my favorite authors and Election is one of my favorite books. I was thrilled that Perrotta was bringing back Tracy Flick. You do not have to read Election  to enjoy Tracy Flick Can’t Win, however, I highly recommend it. This sequel was really written for fans and having the context of Flick’s struggles in her teen years, makes the sequel more poignant. Flick becomes an everyone woman in her struggles, as she faces many micro aggressions and flat-out dismissals from the men in the story. As a woman, reading this felt like a jab from a sharp needle and it make me recall times in my life where I suffered similar treatment. Flick isn’t a likable character. If I met her in real life, I’d find her to be very grating. However, she is also a person who suffers a lot of misfortune and who tries to do the right thing, only to see that she really can’t win. This makes me root for her to succeed.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win is not Perrotta’s finest work, but it is certainly a book that I wanted to read. It was the 2022 new book release that I was most excited to read. Fans are going to be thrilled and if you’re a fan, you must read it. It did not disappoint. I’d love a third Flick sequel or maybe a follow-up to another character from Election.
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Tracy Flick definitely won with this book. I didn't know I needed a follow-up to Election until I read this and I am so glad I did. As a fan of Election, I had high expectations and Tom Perrotta lived up to those expectations and then some. 
Some parts of Tracy's life did surprise me, based on what I had imagined her life to be like after Election. Despite being slightly surprised by many things, they all seemed to work and stay true to her character. Tracy's personality felt very much the same with just a more mature take on it now that she's an adult. I really loved where this story went and the different view points from other characters. It made for a very quick read that felt fun to keep seeing what would happen next.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and will be reading more of my Perrotta backlist ASAP.
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I've enjoyed many of Tom Perrotta's books and was a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon's take on Tracy Flick. Tracy Flick Can't Win picks up with Tracy in her 40's, working as an assistant principal at Green Meadow High School. Tracy is still ambitious and driven, but life hasn't turned out quite the way she expected. Lovers of Election and black comedy/satire will enjoy this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for this ARC.
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Tracy is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in New Jersey. When her principal annouces his retirement, Tracy feels she is deservedly next in line even though she feel unappreciated for all her work.  She is energized, and wants to prove her worth.  Shtill is managing her personal life and that of her 10 year old daughter and a boyfriend. One of the school board members decides to start a Hall of Fame and puts Tracy on the committee. Thus starts the self doubt, who really are her friends and will she get the job she richly deserves.  This book is drak at time, comedic and uplifting.  You will fall in love with Tracy.
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Perrotta is so damn great at capturing the absurdity of the every man, the human behind all the daily nine to five shifts, the complete and utter misinterpretations of life, and turning it into a totally page-turning, laugh out loud drama. I have to say that Election by Perrotta is a blind spot of mine. However I have read a fair amount of his books like Mrs. Fletcher and Little Children, the latter a favorite. Tracy Flick Can't Win is classic Perrota voice -- the comedy edgy, the situations uncomfortable, and the consequences just keep rolling through. Perrota makes it look easy.
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Tracy Flick Can't Win is Tom Perrotta's latest novel, and, to my knowledge, first sequel. As the title suggests, Perrotta's newest book follows the antiheroine (or just plain heroine in some eyes) from his 90s novel, Election. As usual, Perotta captures suburban ennui excellently, but the compelling Tracy Flick often feels like a secondary character in this eponymous sequel. 

Tracy Flick, now in her mid-forties, is the vice principal for a north Jersey suburban high school. As in Election, she is vying for a higher role for which she is perhaps overqualified, this time as a principal. Other characters in the novel include an alcoholic former football star returning to his hometown to recapture his glory days, a former SF tech entrepreneur and school board member, and a Tracy Flick-like high school junior with big aspirations and a budding queer relationship. As in Election, these characters are all involved in some capacity in the selection of a new principal (as well as the selection of inductees into a new "hall of fame' at the high school where Tracy works).

Like Election, Tracy Flick Can't Win is a tight, quick read that emphasizes a certain malaise in middle income suburbia. Perrotta has become a master of this subgenre of fiction, and does a good job painting a picture of this town and its residents. It does seem like Tracy Flick was simply planted into the book as a marketing ploy, and feels less like a continuation of Election and her story. Perrotta also doesn't succeed in making the case for why this story matters now. There are of course recontextualizations of Tracy's actions from Election in light of the Me Too Era, but those evaluations are fairly shallow and don't encompass a large part of the book's themes. Ultimately, I found the book enjoyable, if not necessarily fulfilling and lacking some depth. Fans of Perrotta will enjoy this, and I imagine that some fans of Election will find things to like here.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for an ARC of this title.

I haven't actually read Election, where Tracy Flick first appears, but it feels like her character is something I've absorbed through cultural osmosis - driven, precocious high-schooler - that's become the template for so many other characters like her in greater media. Tom Perrotta's decided to revisit where she's at years later, and this is a lovely bit of farce, introducing all of the characters, setting up the situation where everything will go awry, and standing back to watch what happens.

The book's fantastically written in a way that will make you go "well, just one more chapter" until you've finished the dang thing and it's way past your bedtime. You can kind of see where things are going right up until the end, where there's a shake-up I didn't see coming that sets everything up for a smooth landing.
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Watch Election, a movie from 1999 starring Reese Witherspoon based on Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name.  Election is about a high school student counsel election and Tracy Flick, an ambitious go-getter who does it all.  Tracey also has a relationship with one of her teachers and let me tell you, that movie aged very poorly.  Tom Perrotta tries, I think, to make amends in Tracy Flick Can’t Win.

Twenty-some years later, Tracy is now assistant vice principal of her old high school, gunning for the job of principal.  She’s single with one daughter, and is sick and tired of being the most qualified and under appreciated member of her team.  She’s on the selection committee for a hometown hall of fame, which leads her to reflect back on her own trajectory.

I highly recommend watching the movie for a refresher before reading the book.  Bonus, then you might read the book in Reese’s voice, which is what happened to me!
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I absolutely love the Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick movie Election from 1999. I have probably watched it over 100 times - but I’ve never read Tom Perrotta’s book, on which the movie was based. I’ve read and enjoyed many other books by Perrotta (Little Children and The Leftovers are the two I enjoyed most), but I was thrilled to get an ARC of Election’s sequel, Tracy Flick Can’t Win, from Scribner Books - thanks for sending it my way via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
I loved to hate the goody-two-shoes Tracy in Election, and it was surprising to see how she had changed in the 20 years between high school and the present in Tracy Flick Can’t Win. Tracy now works as an Assistant Principal at a New Jersey high school, applying and getting passed over multiple times for Principal positions
This is a short book with a lot of different characters, written from many different POV. Hearing from Tracy, the soon-to-be-retired Principal Jack, the head of the school board Kyle, the former football star and coach Vito, two students on the school’s Hall of Fame committee, among others, the reader gets a broad perspective of the goings on at Green Meadow High. As a high school teacher, I recognized some unfortunate similarities to the red tape bureaucracy and patriarchy portrayed in the book. The induction scene near the end was tough to read - check the content warnings for this one, please!
I think you could read this without knowing the plot (and wit!) of Election, but I think you’ll enjoy it more having watched that movie - and it’s available for your viewing pleasure on Prime.
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In “Tracy Flick Can’t Win”, Tom Perrotta kills it with a super easy quick read. The short chapters and the switching characters point of view were two things that I enjoyed about this book. Unfortunately the story was disappointing and the ending was a bit glossed over. In my opinion, the nostalgia from Election isn’t enough incentive to read the book. Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for the ARC.
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𝐈𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭, 𝐢𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐲 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐝- 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐝.

Flick is back but she isn’t the same ambitious, anointed girl she once was. Feeling less exceptional, what gnaws at her is the possibility she is ordinary. Her calling of greatness has dwindled, working as an Assistant Principal at Green Meadow High School is a far cry from her ambition (not dream, mind you) of becoming the first woman President of the United States. No one can deny she was well on her way having graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown but her hunger of a political future came to an end when she was called back home. We find Tracy a single mother, desperate to scale second place (the rotten stink of second) and secure Principal Jack Weede’s position, now that he is finally retiring. She has it on good authority she is the perfect fit but she knows that life can change on a dime. Weary of swallowing humble pie, this is her chance to make something of herself, to stop being runner up.

Kyle Dorfman, President of the school board, has a vision. He wants to bring a Hall of Fame for former students to the school. Flick takes the reins as part of the committee, if she can prove herself then she’ll have Kyle forever on her side but the idea of honoring golden boys (athletes) is a vile reminder of her youth. Of course it is exactly who the men want, a hero on the field by the name of Vito Falcone, the greatest football player in the history of their town. Tracy’s daughter is on the cusp of turning eleven but the two aren’t as bonded as she and her own mother were. Her child’s father wasn’t the love of her life, and her current boyfriend seems to want more than she is willing to give. Her mantra doesn’t seem to be working, and people are out to crush her. Is she really fated to lose, despite the passion and drive she has invested in her life?

There aren’t any characters on the fringe here, they each have demons of their own. The past is breeding vengeance, but it’s not only Tracy who feels the universe is playing favoritism. Front Desk Diane is tired of being put off while having to wear a cheerful mask, Principal Jack Weede loves his sick wife despite evidence to the contrary, Lily Chu (Student Vice President) is discovering her sexuality while her parents want her focused on her education, Nate Clearly (Student President) is wrapped up in a celebrity crush, Vito is a ‘sorry’ wreck ready to make right, Kyle Dorfman sees himself as a visionary but could be a narcissist, and his wife’s attempt to befriend Tracy come across as suspect. There are alumni who aren’t so keen on the choices made by the committee and Tracy is starting to realize there are people who are trying to ruin her chance at success. There might just be an unraveling. There is humor but a moment of bullying reminds me of why school is hell for so many. Where are the seeds of revenge planted, I wonder? It’s a quick read but enjoyable and damn if I can’t get Reece Witherspoon as Tracy out of my head. She’s a hell of a character, Flick. I have to admit my favorite Perrotta novel is 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘯 but Flick has a special place in my heart, the weirdo. Overachiever Tracy working at a school is believable and I think the ending is perfectly fitting. I can’t imagine the story any other way.

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

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I've read every book Tom Perrotta has ever written. Tracy Flick Can't Win is the sequel to the big besteseller  Election.  I read it in one sitting and wished it could have been longer. I already miss all the characters. What I loved about the book was it shows us that just like in life people who were successful in their early years don't always end up living up to their potential and sometimes end up as failures. It's about obstacles that get in their way that sometimes are out of our their control.( i.e sexism, homophobia etc.)  It's all about how we fight against them and if we ever really had a chance to overcome them. The story is told through multiple charatcers each telling their sides of things with the conclusion of the novel endng in a way that in today's world may need a warning. I really enjoyed this novel in that it was great seeing Tracy on the pages again and how she fits in today's world . You root for her fighting spirit but just in different ways. You see that she will never reach her potential of who she really wanted to be but accepts that it's ok to just be her. This will be a big bestseller and a huge book club favorite. Thanks to netgalley and Scribner books for the arc.
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Tom Perrotta’s novel Election, was a lot of fun, and the film version is a classic. The main character is Mr M, a married high school teacher who decides to run interference in a high school election. The almost-sure bet winner for student president is Tracy Flick. and the teacher decides Tracy should not win. Tracy Flick is an incredibly determined, driven character, and essentially, a formidable enemy. Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a follow-up novel to Election. It’s not essential to read Election first, but it certainly helps.

The novel opens with Tracy, now a divorced single parent, working as the Assistant Principal at Green Meadow High School in New Jersey. In Election, there was the sense that Tracy was going to be extremely successful, so what went wrong?

I’d always been a party of one, set apart from the other kids by the conviction–I possessed it from a very early age–that I was destined for something bigger then they were, a future that mattered. I didn’t believe that anymore–how could I, my life being what it was–but I remembered the feeling, almost like I’d been anointed by some higher authority, and I missed it sometimes.

If you read Election or watched the film, then you know that Tracy had an affair with one of her high school teachers, and that Mr. M makes it his business to see that Tracy loses the Election. One of the things I really liked about Election was the creation of the high school world of frustrated ambition, and the teachers who watch students leave for (in theory) brighter, fresher prospects than their own.

So both novels Election and Tracy Flick Can’t Win share elements of frustrated ambition within the high school setting. Tracy’s frustrations with her stalled career centre on her desire to become the new principal–after all she was acting principal during the period in which the principal, Jack Weede, recovered from a heart attack. She knows the job; she’s dedicated, so why isn’t she the preferred candidate?

Over time, it’s revealed why Tracy never had the brilliant career she (and others) expected. And it’s also a bit of a time warp to see Tracy still in high school–even if she is more or less running the place. The big dilemmas here are: 1: who will be the new principal and 2: who will be the two candidates for the Hall of Fame. One of those nominated is Vito Falcone—a former NFL player who left a trail of damaged lives in his wake. Vito, as a famous athlete, seems the obvious choice, but then that choice harks to the typical high school culture emphasis on sports.

Various voices and viewpoints form the chapters: students on the committee, the principal, a school board member, possible Hall of Famers. One of the students , Lily Chu, begins a relationship with non-binary Clem. “They were a sophomore at Wesleyan.” When I first read this I thought it was a typo.

There wasn’t much humour here and the story wrapped up rather quickly in a way that reflects our violent times. Tracy Flick was a great character in Election. Here we see her worn down by disappointment, and all that fire has mostly fizzled out.. Given the number of Perrotta’s other works that have made it to the screen, we can expect this to be adapted also.

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If I could give this book 10 stars I would.  Great characters-both old and new, a timely storyline that makes you think and absolutely spectacular writing.  It is fabulous.
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This is the sequel to the late 90’s book (and movie), Election. It’s a testament to how much things have changed since the original was published that I didn’t immediately remember that Tracy was having an affair with her teacher.
Well, almost 25 years have passed, and everyone is more woke, including Tracy, who is now the Assistant Principal at her alma matter. This sequel is definitely more sympathetic to Tracy, and we get a bit more of why Tracy is so driven to succeed.
Although I enjoyed Tracy Flick Can’t Win, it kind of felt like an addendum to the original, casting a new eye onto the social problems that the original mocked.

Thank you Scribner and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you so much to Scribner for the chance to read and review this book prior to release.

I had not read or seen the movie ELECTION but I still think it would make enough sense for someone to go in blind.

I like how the format was broken up in small sections from multiple perspectives, which made it easy to read quickly.

I did have a harder time getting into exactly what was going on and there was a little too much sexual assault and infidelity for my preference.

I think a lot of people will enjoy this one through.
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