Cover Image: Tracy Flick Can't Win

Tracy Flick Can't Win

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Member Reviews

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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I haven’t read Election, but nevertheless I really enjoyed Tracy Flick Can’t Win! I can’t remember the last time I blew through a book so quickly.
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Tracy Flick is an overachiever.  Her dreams of a grand political career died when she had to care for an ailing mother.  Now, she's the vice principal of a suburban high school, hoping to secure the principal job when her boss retires at the end of the school year.  She agrees to a strange request by a school board member, and must contend with people who would rather have a winning football team than a professional administrator.  In a shocking twist, Tracy does become the hero of her own story.
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Small town politics, small town lives. The characters are very real in that they are slightly boring and never quite come to life in a vibrant way. Each character has a cloud of melancholy from their choices or past, never building to full drama, but a slow simmer of sadness. This wasn't what I expected of this title at all, and while I liked it, I would have preferred a story with more vibrancy and fuller story lines.
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Tracy Flick is a hardworking and ambitious assistant principal at a public high school in New Jersey.  She is excited when she finds out that the longtime principal, Jack Weede is retiring.  Tracy throws herself wholeheartedly into the application process, determined to get that promotion, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter & a needy doctor boyfriend. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.  One of the many responsibilities to come up is 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, & leads her to reflect about the trajectory of her own life. 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?

I always enjoy this author's books.  This wasn't my favorite of his, but it was still enoyable.  I didn't realize this was a sequel to his book "Election".  i thought I had read all of his books but somehow missed that one.  I think you would be fine not reading that one first since it was about Tracy in high school, and she talks about the infamous election so frequently in this book.  This book is told in alternating chapters between all of the different characters' POV's, so you get a well-rounded view.  I always enjoy a book that is written in that manner.   I did feel like a lot of the characters didn't seem to have a lot of depth to them.  I don't want you to think this wasn't a good book though, because it was.  There were definitely some parts that made me laugh, and Mr Perrotta does know how to tell a good story.  He is a very soothing storyteller - the kind of story you would want to read if you just want to sit back and chill.  So add it to your TBR pile so it will be there for just that perfect moment - you will be glad you did.
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Tracy Flick is back in high school as an assistant principal and is lamenting the fact that life hasn't gone the way she had imagined it back when she won the election for student body president. Now she is in the running to be principal and she wants it more than anything; running the show is where Tracy thrives. Fans of Election will be eager to see what Tracy is up to, but it was a bit harder to care about some of the other minor players in the book, all of whom are given their own chapters to narrate. While the ending felt a bit abrupt, it was a twist I did not see coming.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. Full disclosure, I’m a huge Perotta writing style fan. His ability to craft characters that are so real and buck likability expectations and the inner life that he manages to craft make me swoon as a reader. I was excited in this time of nostalgia to revisit one of my favorite complex characters of yesteryear, Tracy Flick. And the title is a dead giveaway that yet again, our heroine is not doing well, despite her type A overachieving. This modern take on climbing the ladder reminds me so much of the dark comedy Vice Principals with less humor, but it makes for a wild ride nonetheless.
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Interesting and entertaining sequel to Election. I was hoping for more about the other characters but should have guessed the focus based on title. Also, the ending is  really abrupt and kind of comes out of nowhere. Still, an entertaining read.
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This was fine. Perrotta's prose is as readable and full of humorous and accurate hits of contemporary life as ever. This book would not be nearly as enjoyable as a standalone - Tracy is such a memorable and important character that this will find a larger readership than it would merit without Election.

I found the ending a bit of a letdown.
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Oh, Tracy - how I’ve missed you so & didn’t even realize it until Tom brought you back! I had actually just rewatch the movie version of her first escapade when I learned of her new adventures so really need to retread 
Thank you for the opportunity for the ARC and I look forward to more of her adventures!
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I believe no one captures the suburbs as well as Tom Perrotta. "Tracy Flick Can't Win" features Perrotta weighing in on where America stands in 2022. This is one of those rare sequels that doesn't strike one as a money grab, but instead was writing because events have demanded a reexamining. 

In the wake of #MeToo, Tracy (and Perrotta...and the reader) need to revisit the affair she had with a married teacher when she was 15. It's fascinating to see Tracy reevaluate how she was treated in light of the strides culture has made since that incident took place. 

In addition to Tracy's story, Perrotta provides us with a gallery of interesting, new characters. If you are a fan of his work, this is another excellent book. I absolutely loved reading it and never found myself looking at the page # because the story was losing me. 

Netgalley provided me with a free ARC in return for this review.
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Tom Perrotta can do no wrong, and tho Tracy Flick Can't Win was enjoyable, I think readers need to read the first Tracy Flick.
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