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Tracy Flick Can't Win

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Tracy Flick, the wily, ambitious heroine from Perotta's Election is back as an adult in this dark, funny sequel.  Now Tracy is the assistant principal at a New Jersey public high school.  After years of waiting, the principal is finally retiring and Tracy is hoping for a much-delayed promotion.  She sets out full-steam ahead, trying to show her readiness for the promotion, take care of her ten-year old daughter, a clingy boyfriend, and a successful meditation practice.  But as usual with Tracy, nothing is ever easy and she has to resort to all her skills to show she can do the new job in spite of what the principal and her detractors think.  Fan's of Perotta's previous novel will enjoy this, as will anyone who has ever tried to move ahead against all odds.  Many thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read the ARC.
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I enjoyed this book, it was a quick read.  It's nice to see the continuation of Flick and that she's still up to her antics.  Perrotta is such a fun writer and really immerses you with the dialogue.
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Tracy Flick Can't Win 
by Tom Perrotta
Pub Date: June 7, 2022
#2 in the series 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. Tracy Flick is back and, once again, the iconic protagonist of Tom Perrotta’s Election—and Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation—is determined to take high school politics by storm.
* Fiction  *Contemporary  * Humor 
We do live in the age of nostalgia so perhaps it’s not that surprising to see that Tom Perrotta has written a sequel to his late ‘90s novel, Election, even though it wasn’t a massive bestseller or all that good. But here we are anyway, nearly 25 years later, with Election Part 2: Tracy Flick Can’t Win.
I did not love it... 272 pages and it still feels padded. Perrotta introduces a lot of interesting elements throughout the story: CTE, depression, mortality, addiction, aging - but he doesn’t do anything with them. The effect is very superficial and is why this novel doesn’t feel like it has any point.
3 stars
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Yet another deeply stirring and always moving work of fiction by master Tom Perrotta. Tracy Flick is an astonishing character, as we all know from Perrotta’s earlier master work ELECTION and the movie of the same name. Tracy is fierce, unrelenting, indomitable and yet vulnerable too. I could not put this book down. I recommend it without reservation.
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"Tracy Flick is back and, once again, the iconic protagonist of Tom Perrotta's Election - and Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation - is determined to take high school politics by storm.

Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.

Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life - a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.

Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues' determination to honor Vito Falcone - a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL - triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.

As she broods on the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the Principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President's wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?

In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can't Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time."

Because I'm sure just like me everyone else has been wondering what happened to Tracy Flick!
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I enjoyed Tom Perrotta’s earlier novel, Election, mainly because of its great character development.  This sequel, written years later, works at decent character development but falls flat in that area and thus was not as enjoyable for me.

After losing a high school election on her way to allegedly becoming the president of the United States, Tracy Flick has grown up and is now an assistant high school principal.  When he boss announces her retirement, surely Tracy can be his successor— and thus achieve the “win” she has been trying so hard for since her high school days.  Or, can she?

This is a quick read and it was interesting to see what Tracy was currently up to, but the storyline was a bit mundane and predictable to me, and the ending was very disappointing as it seemed to come out of nowhere.  This novel did not live up to my expectations, but perhaps I expected too much.
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Poor poor Tracy Flick! She is next in line to be the principal at the public high school where she is the Assistant Principal. She has a plan of how she will improve the school and finally be in the shining light. Well, when a series of misfortunate events happens she is surprised. 

A fun light read that turns a bit dark at the end. Quite a drastic change which is what left me giving the book only 3 stars.
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I enjoyed Tom Perrotta's new novel updating, in a sense, the biting disappointments Tracy Flick experienced in high school. Currently, Tracy is the assistant principal at a New Jersey high school. I know the terrain well and liked all the placemarks like Pathmark and the Ledger. Tracy's life is one of reasonable success, but at this middle stage, she is not happy to still be an assistant rather than the principal or higher, so why not a superintendent. Tracy is excellent at her job, she has the requisite training, and a doctorate in education. The staff and students like her well enough. Her boss, the principal, Jack Weede, has full confidence in Tracy. She filled in for him for an entire semester.

When Jack announces his plan to retire at the end of the school year, Tracy's hope rises to a level of confidence. The School Board likes her. The chairman of the board, Kyle Dorfman, implies that Tracy is a shoo-in for the job. Of course, that is when myriad characters begin filling in the plot for ways that will give Tracy yet another disappointment in life. Each character has a POV chapter and I liked reading what everything thought about their life at the school, present, and former players in the NJ arena of ambition.

I appreciate TP and his unique writing that makes the story float off the page, in almost a conversational page. I often dreaded what looked like disaster and despair, only to read on and find more from this author's bag of tools.

Thank you to NG and Scribner for this e-ARC.
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The Tracy Flick of this book doesn't feel like a natural evolution of the Tracy Flick from Election, and I couldn't really get past that as I was reading. That's mostly my own hang-up, and I hate judging a work based on what it's not rather than what it is but... this is an iconic character, and having her do a near-180 from her previous incarnation is going to invite these comparisons.

I liked everything else. There were perhaps too many points of view, not allowing us to spend quite enough time with some of the more minor characters, but I absolutely understood and appreciated why they were there. It reads very quickly and bitingly.
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Tracy Flick is a woman with problems.  As a successful and popular assistant principal, everyone including her thinks she should be a shoo-in to replace the retiring principal.  But of course, all does not go as planned, and is often the case the power of sports programs and staff seems to take precedence.  In these times of divisive school board/faculty/public relations, this novel is a light-hearted, sometimes comic, look at education politics and the effect they can have on individuals.
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Can a book about school shootings have a happy ending and be funny, too? Is it even allowed? This book shows it can be done tastefully. There are many things that make this book appealing: as always with Tom Perotta,  you have a very believable portrait of an American town, showing of modern society problems, a format - short chapters, each given to a different interesting and recognizable character, and despite the tragic events in the book, it has this feel-good vibe.
For the people unfamiliar with Tom Perotta, this book can serve as a good introduction, and his fans won't be disappointed either.
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I am a huge Tom Perrotta fan from Election all the way to the Leftovers and Little Children. I was so excited to get an ARC of this book! 
The flow of this book was smooth, fast and delightful. I loved the characters and loved revisiting Tracy Flick in her journey through life! There were parts I found myself giggling and others I felt in my heart. Overall a great escape book that was fun to read!
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I really enjoyed this fun, fast-paced book, told from the perspectives of multiple characters. This will especially satisfy fans of “Election,” though it is not necessary to be familiar with that book to be entertained by this one. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m a Perotta fan and it was so much fun revisiting Tracy Flick!

I will recommend this to anyone who got to know her the first time around, thought this could stand on its own. 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!
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Thank you  Scribner for granting me the chance to review Tom Perotta's Tracy Flick Can't Win via NetGalley.  I have been a fan of Perotta's writing for a while and his take on the darker underbelly of suburban life for a while; I enjoyed Mrs. Fletcher, Little Children, and The Leftovers in the past.    This is another strong example of the features that define this writer: themes on fairness/what feels earned/deserved or not, the hidden thoughts and lives of people you see in every  day life and contexts, and the yearning perhaps to be seen, recognized, to be worthy of a hall of fame display.

I enjoyed returning to Tracy Flick from Election (which I read long ago so I don't recall the details but does standalone) and seeing her in an adult role, with a thoughtful examination of #MeToo and her high school history and her current position as an assistant principle in a high school, and weaving in related stories about a hall of fame display in the high school and who will get to be in it.  I liked that the stories wove in high school voices and adults, 

Perotta often weaves in related but distinct stories and voices in his novels to great effect and this novel again does that, highlighting again the many currents that run through a place, such as a high school, and how one event and possible promotion can bring Tracy once again back to who wins versus who deserves... Perotta's books tend to exame such themes, who stays/who leaves, who gets raptured and who doesn't, and I enjoy this feature of his storytelling and the idea that the universe, fate, are at times random and perhaps unfair.

Recommended for fans of Perotta's previous novels as well as for book clubs in general and readers who like somewhat dark and funny, but thoughtful, character driven plots.
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For those who have wondered what ever happened to Tracy Flick after Election, here is your chance!
This dark humor novel shows us Tracy all grown up and wondering what she has to do to get the promotion she feels she has earned from vice principal to principal. With the same sharp humor as Election, Flick unfondly reminisces on her past as she struggles to find the future she feels she deserves.
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I like most all of Tom Perotta's books and this one is no exception. Great writing, interesting characters, and a nice tight plot. I read Election way too many years ago to remember much of it, but it didn't matter. This book could stand alone. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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An excerpt from my upcoming blog: "I like Tom Perrotta because I find his writing to be immensely engaging, whether it's something heavily contemporary (see Mrs. Fletcher") or absolutely mystifying and heartwrenching (see the fantastical "The Leftovers"). Given that, and from what I remember of the Reese Witherspoon/Matthew Broderick flick, I already knew chances were good I'd find myself entertained.
"Tracy Flick Can't Win," out June 7th, is a quick read — so you can commit knowing you won't be lugging around the same book for weeks on end. Once you sit down and turn the first page, you want to know what's going on with Tracy, along with the myriad characters that also serve as narrators. Readers bounce from Principal Jack Weede to school board president Kyle Dorfman, ex-football star Vito Falcone, to present day high school seniors Nate Cleary and Lily Chu, each offering their own perspective on the race to become a founding member of the Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame.
Tracy is still trying to grab the brass ring — in this case, ascension to principal of GMHS after years serving in the Number Two role. But as she quickly learns, life just isn't fair. I don't know that it's intentional, but it's a central theme in Perrotta's work — the almost uncanny ability of the universe to punish and reward indiscriminately. 
Is life truly, ever, fair?
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I have not read Election, the 1998 prequel to this book (and was disappointed that my library only had it in print so I couldn’t instantly access it) but I did see the Alexander Payne movie a long time back. My recollection, which could well be faulty, was that 15 year-old Tracy Flick was the butt of the satire: an uber-organized and ambitious young woman standing for student president who ruins a teacher's life when she has a brief affair with him.

But we are now in the post-Me Too era and suddenly Tracy’s story reads differently. She is an assistant principal at New Jersey high school and well aware of her character flaws. She dropped out of law school to nurse her much-loved and sick mother, had a child with an older married professor, and has settled.

Two events drive the plot: a tech rich alum wants to start a Green Wood High School Hall of Fame and the current principal announces his resignation. Told in short chapters from multiple characters’ perspectives, the novel builds up towards the first HoF induction. Tracy’s self-reflective journey towards contentment with her lot is the most fleshed out part of the narrative but the other characters’ arcs are pretty broad brushstroke.

The short novel romps along towards an unlikely climax and then meets up again with most of the characters a year later. It’s pretty slight stuff but very readable.

Thanks to Scribner and Netgalley for the digital review copy.
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I have always been a big Tom Perrotta fan and I was so excited to see this sequel to Election! If you've ever wondered what happened to Tracy Flick, here you are.  I enjoyed seeing how Tracy had matured and her adult views of her teenage self.  Her path, like most people's was different then she had expected. This was a quick read and very enjoyable, I highly recommend! 
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read this digital ARC.
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