Cover Image: Seton Girls

Seton Girls

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Member Reviews

Seton Girls is an interesting and important story but it doesn't really feel like it makes a HUGE impact. It was a ton of fun and I enjoyed it, but it felt like it had the opportunity to make a larger impact.
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Seton Girls posits itself as Dear White People meets Friday Night Lights which is more or less not accurate. Seton Girls, in the end, tells an important story, but does not offer anything significant to these narratives.
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This book was very hard to get into at first both between the way it jumps between the past and the presence and how certain chapters focus on characters outside of the main character. You have vague idea of what's going to unfold but it's kept at a distance for the first quarter of the book. I think some of the repetitive feeling chapters at the beginning with them attending parties could've been cut. I know it was to build an idea of how these character's relationships were everything in the reader's mind but most of these friendships felt shallow regardless. And though this book carries a Friday Night Lights comp it's very loose beyond the obsession with football. Where Friday Night Lights was as much as a family drama as it was a teen drama the parents in this story were noticeably absent with the teens having to navigate this difficult world by themselves.

That being said once I we actually started getting to the sex scandals is when I became invested and I had to keep reading until I was finished. While what happened was predictable, Charlene took an interesting approach by telling this story from the viewpoint of an outsider. Aly doesn't realize at first how this affects her, she believes she's just being a good friend to Britt who really needs one at the moment. But then she soon realizes how so much of her life centers around her boyfriend and the football. At times it feels like Britt's story told through the eyes of Aly, though Aly started taking control towards the end. 

There were things that didn't always work for me in this story and points where the commentary could've gone a little deeper but Charlene Thomas is a promising writer and one to look out for in the future.
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This is an well written debut that reveals the insidious ongoings of an elite prep school and those who are always tossed aside for in favor of those in power.

This book reminded me of the #MeToo movement meets John Tucker Must Die.

I loved the fierce female friendships and the need to set fire to the system that continues to abuse the girls in this book for the sake of protecting a football legacy.
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The Seton Girls know what’s up….and they’re gonna do something about it. 

For years, Seton Prep’s football team has lead an amazing win streak. People praise the QB, but all he has is praise for the girls that cheer them on. 

Initially going into this book, I thought there’d be a witchcraft subplot…maybe the girls make a sacrifice every year to ensure the boys win, but the truth is much more sinister and much much much worse. 


THANK YOU to PenguinTeen for my ARC!
————

Please see   http://sltrbooks.home.blog/2022/08/05/seton-girls-arc-review/    for my full review
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**Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Teen for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changed my opinion of the book* 

Seton Girls is about Aly, but also about more than just her. Aly is a junior at Seton Academic High and the editor of the school newspaper. However, the real draw at Seton is their Varsity football team, who have gone undefeated for 12 seasons and are like rockstars in their community. At the start of the year, Aly becomes friends with Britt MacDougal, who has been a very popular "It" girl at Seton for a while but has newly become a bit of a pariah. The book takes place over two months while they figure out what really is the cause of Seton football's success (if I say any more, it will give the entire thing away). 

I really enjoyed this one. It reminds me a bit of The Rules for Being a Girl, which I also really loved. It kind of has a similar dark academia vibe to recent "it" books like Ace of Spades or How We Fall Apart. I am really quite pleased to see that this is Thomas' DEBUT book and she was so thoughtful and purposeful with her writing. I really liked Aly, although I think she's a little bit of a passive main character. The actions of the story don't really happen to her so much as they happen AROUND her and she's kind of caught up in them. The real star is Britt, who is very charismatic and a really good friend. I liked her infectious personality and the way she is constantly holding up the women around her. We need more characters like this! 

There were a few minor things that stood out to me as weird. One of which (super minor) is the Varsity team seems to be made up of ONLY seniors, which isn't the case for most high schools. JV is like middle school and maybe a few lowerclassman, but rarely is the varsity team SOLELY seniors. It was just kind of a weird thing to me. Another, as I mentioned, was that Aly was a little passive. I understand why she's part of the story, as she is kind of the reader insert. She's learning things as we learn them and is in a good position to see all sides of the conflict. However, I felt like the story might have been more interesting if we had had the dichotomy of Britt & Parker, as they're really the two main people of focus. We get a little bit from each of them, but I wanted a bit more. 

I loved the diversity in this book. Being set at a private school, I would've expected most of the characters to be white. Aly & her boyfriend, J, are bussed in from an hour away, but Britt and her friends, Michelle and Bianca, are also Black. I believe it's mentioned either Michelle or Bianca (I think Michelle) might be Afro-latinx. It's nice to see a book portray the children of successful people of color. There is also a  good discussion about class and the privilege that comes with it. The difficult topic that surrounds the plot was well handled and not glorified or written off in any way. I thought it was exceptionally well done, especially for a debut. 

Overall, I'm really excited to see what else Thomas does. I would recommend picking this up. 
4/5 stars.
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This book started off super slow for me. I kept pushing myself to finish it because I was super hyped to read it. What pulled me in was the blurb. It took me a pretty good while to get into the book, and then once I got into it, I wanted to finish it. I needed to finish it. The town loves football. They are obsessed with it all; everyone seems to wear the team's colors, like they eat, live, and breathe the team. These boys could do no wrong, right? Well, we are just about to find out. When someone happens, the girls are not going to be quiet anymore. Things will get out, and when they do, will anything be done? Whose side will be taken? Sometimes things in a small town get buried because it is always easier to bury them than stop them. Seven hundred ninety-nine girls let that just sink in. You will read about that number. Friendships will be tested, and the team will be tested. We see how the Seton Girls can get their power back. I will have to say I love the relationship that J.J. and Aly have; it was cute, and in the end, we saw how much they were made for each other. 
The friendships that seem to form and stay together throughout it all are great! In bad times, we see who is there and who is not. Brit slowly learns this. 
If you start this book and you are like me going, when will it be better? Why so many details? Then I highly suggest you just keep reading; it does get better, I promise you.
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From my blog post: This book is actually the inspiration behind this post because I tweeted that it had me in a chokehold. I had started it at like 4:25 am (I know, I know, the hours I am up) and forced myself to stop at like 7:30 am because I hadn’t gone to sleep yet (in my defense, it was Saturday morning & I had no plans for the day). Each time I picked up my amazon fire, I had such a hard time putting it down because I was getting sucked into the story, trying to figure out the roles that the Seton Girls played in the story and how the characters would handle certain situations. There were multiple points of views which also helped push the story forward (and y’all know Dual POVs are my jam). The layers this story had just gave everything that needed to be given, especially since there was an added little twist that I did NOT guess, which is not something that happens all that often! This is definitely a book I’ll be thinking and talking about for a very long time.
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Seton High is obsessed with their football team, literally. They’ve had a 13 year win streak and they also credit it to the Seton girl’s by their sides. The quarterback wants to win really bad, especially with the first black we who can overshadow him. Secrets can expose some darker undersides to the school. 

This was a well written story for a debut author. Talking about the intense pride elite schools can harbor. Show king tight kit groups and race. The characters are well driven and they definitely have a taste for “damn the man” the book also has the tone of sisterhood and building each other up. 

All I all, I really enjoyed the story and it’s meaning. It definitely had that Friday Night Lights feel and the drama was on par for the story.
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Talking about this one without spoilers is hard because the book is ABOUT the spoilers. And they aren’t exactly surprising from fairly early in the story, but you should kind of know what you’re getting into.

Seton Girls is a contemporary YA novel following (mostly) the few Black students at a predominantly white private school. A school where the Varsity football team is basically worshipped, but the players say it’s because they have the best girls in the world cheering them on.

One of our main characters is the editor of the school newspaper and when the head of the varsity team is accused of sexual assault, she ends up learning more than she ever wanted to about the dark underbelly of elite high school football.

This book took some time for me to become invested. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the writing style and when I realized this plot was going involve the sexual exploitation of teen girls, I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading. Ultimately I’m glad I stuck it out-the story is compelling and makes you care. I’m not sure the handling of everything was perfect and I think it could have gone farther than it did.

That said, I generally thought this was a solid book with deep visceral relationships between women. Maybe it’s me but I don’t see how you can read this and NOT see the queer subtext to so many relationships. I received a copy of this book for review via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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Seton Girls ignited my heart. It will push you to use your voice and fight for the truth, however hard it may be.

In the current political climate, it strikes even harder and pulsates with anger at the society we live in. At times, this is an incredibly difficult read. From the very first page, I felt that pit in my stomach drop wide open as I knew where this story was heading. It is a very well-handled depiction of the issue though, igniting much needed conversations around toxic masculinity, rape culture and locker room talk. Personally, I thought it was discussed sensitively and without graphic detail, but enough to clearly establish what has occurred. Thomas dissects the boys will be boys mentality and asks why the voices of survivors are held in less esteem than the reputations of the boys and their sports team. There are far too many real world parallels that instantly spring to mind. That is probably why this book truly burrowed its way into my heart. Thomas does not hold back and that irate rawness just really hits home. She also utilises a past timeline to establish the creation of this sickening structure, building the mystery and clearly exposing the exploitation at the heart of it. The way this eventually intersects with the present timeline is well-executed and underlines how entrenched the school is with this toxic culture. Here, the school revolves around the team and therefore they are virtually untouchable, until Aly starts to look for the truth.

In addition to that incredibly important discussion, there is also an exploration of racism and classism that feeds into this toxic hierarchy of privilege. This power structure of patriarchy and rape culture directly correlates to the classist and racist infrastructures at the school. Thomas brings these factors into a nuanced conversation, particularly in the characters of Aly and J. They are already marginalised and considered outside of the social structure as they are some of the few Black students who are bussed in from more than an hour away. This adds more weight into particularly J’s story, as someone who is dependent on his sport to succeed. The structures of the school are not made to uplift someone like him. Thomas digs into this with the show of his natural success and ability, which the white quarterbacks and current star team can only replicate through underhanded and despicable actions. Also, Britt (the popular senior girl who Aly becomes drawn to) is Black too, but from an incredibly privileged background. This adds another layer to the discussion of privilege at the centre of this book, asking what it costs for success in this social world built to only support the elite few.

Above all, Aly is a fantastic protagonist. As the head of the school paper, she is in the perfect position to interrogate this atmosphere and the suffocating society she has found herself enmeshed in. I loved her genuine passion and drive to find the truth. She has a caring soul that wants to protect those she cares for and a sense of empathy that really makes you fall in love with her. Her and J have a gorgeous relationship as well, with that intimate trust and familiarity that just makes you feel all gooey inside. Their dynamic is always a breath of fresh air in the book, allowing some space to breathe and process everything that has happened. You can tell that both of them deeply care for the other and want the best for them, which is inevitably complicated by the earth-shattering revelations Aly uncovers.

Seton Girls is the type of book that makes you want to burn the world down.
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Accessed this on NetGalley via the PYR Fall 2022 Educator and Librarian Preview. Bonus star for the extremely high intrigue that kept me glued to NetGalley.

No, it’s not supernatural stuff, so yes, its probably the terrible scenario you’re thinking of.

Ambitious, compelling, difficult, upsetting. Sometimes too frothy and verbose when it came to trying to describe the (frankly) indescribable flavor of friendship some teen girls have, and definitely too heavy handed with some of the characterization, but this is absolutely the type of teen drama the CW is always trying to cook up. This is the kind of rich-people-underbelly sh*t that made Gossip Girl such a powerhouse. Yes, it’s pretty clear pretty early on what is happening; yes, it is an excruciatingly slow burn that is sometimes repetitive; YES it was upsetting sometimes in a way that made me feel hollow. But I could NOT stop reading until I was finished.

Overall a good read but it’s hard to say how I might recommend this to someone. It’s hard to fully get into it without jumping to spoilers, but there is a bunch of content integral to the structure of the book that is also difficult to read - There is some straight up, squarely triggering stuff even if you can’t recognize all the heartbreaking layers to some of the characters. If you’re a teen learning about inequity and institutionalized sh*ttiness for the first time this could be devastating; I already know about those things and it still got heavy and upsetting. So yeah, hard to say… Definitely an exciting pick for my first NetGalley read, and I look forward to what everyone has to say about this one once it comes out later this month.
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This is a slow burn if I've ever seen one, definitely living up to the Friday Night Lights comparison. At Seton, football is everything. But when a secret comes out that could jeopardize everything... you get to see who your friends are. Aly goes from being on the outside to being smack dab in the middle of everything as Britt and Parker battle it out. And what starts as a simple cheating scandal becomes so much more... It's gripping, told through alternating timelines that lets the reader add up everything we've missed. But the last chapter before the epilogue really drives the book home and I wish we'd gotten to see inklings of it sooner. Definitely a drama for the ages.

*Thank you to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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I've started this book twice and can't get into it. The introduction of so many characters in the first few pages made it difficult to keep up with them all. The early introduction of conflict when only knowing these characters surfacely didn't draw me in either. This is a DNF for me. However, the cover is gorgeous!
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Friday night lights meets dear white people.  When the brother of the Seton star who started the win streak, wants more than regular season glory. He wants a state championship before his successor, Seton's first Black QB, has a chance to overshadow him.  A book of lies,  trickery, and secrets
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The Seton Girls are the backbone of their school.  Their football team couldn't be successful without them. The team even takes a point in every football team to cheer for the girls in the crowd.  13 years ago, Cooper Adams took over as the quarterback for Seton.  During his time in power he did two things, showed the importance of Seton girls and turned the program into a winning legacy.  For the past 13 years they have had winning season after winning season.  Now Cooper's younger brother, Parker, is at the helm and determined to take it further than any team before and take States.  When a rift in the senior girls tears apart Parker's girlfriend, Michelle, and her best friend, Britt, will it impact the football team.  The team has always enjoyed privileges around town from their combination of wealth and team member status.  They have always been able to walk around with not a carry in the world.

Waiting in the wings to take the helm of the team next year is J.  J is the JV quarterback and the most talented athlete to walk the halls of Seton.  As the quarterback who is a "bus" kid and also the first black quarterback he is nervous but excited to get to his senior year and earn a scholarship.  One big concern he has is how can he run the helm without the wealth behind him to host the parties?  His girlfriend, Aly has been his ride or die since childhood.  Growing up across the street together they have never known life apart and have grand plans for the future.  She is the first ever Junior editor of the popular Seton newspaper and has dreams of her own of making it big in journalism.

When Aly finds herself befriended by Britt after Britt falls out of favor with the other senior girls she is enamored with her new friend.  She's seeing the Seton proper side of life, enjoying picnics at the club and a life that has been foreign to her including the fact that the Seton girls deserve to be more than the adjective they have been assigned, best.  They deserve to be nouns themselves.

Britt and Aly team up to research a big story that might throw a wrench into the Seton community they must find a way to get the community to see that winning isn't everything.
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Thank you Penguin Teen for the earc to read and review. 

Seton is an exclusive prep school that is obsessed with football and tradition. Told in alternating timelines between What it was and What it is, you are immersed into the lives of the Seton football team and their Seton Girls in the past and the present. 

While all seems perfect on the outside what happens when dark secrets start to be exposed and everyone is worrying about their perfect life and season start crumbling down? 

The present timeline is in Aly’s point of view. She is the first junior to become editor of the school paper and her boyfriend and lifelong best friend, J is the JV quarterback and soon to be the first black quarterback the school has ever had. They are two of only 22 students who are bussed in and don’t belong in Seton proper. They are fully immersed in the football parties and traditions although always just on the outside. 

When there is a fracture in the  close knit group of seniors, Aly must choose sides. With gaslighting, sexual misconduct and classism, this book covers the darkness of the untouchables. As the story unfolds even more secrets unfold. 

At its core it is powerful story about friendships and girls standing up for what is right and taking control.
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SETON GIRLS by Charlene Thomas feels very believable, especially at the beginning, as readers are introduced to the popular "Seton Girls" and the football players they date. The social status and constructs feel similar to those I experienced as a teen in Texas, which also makes the situation in SETON GIRLS feel deeply rooted. 

Although the characters' social situations felt real, the actual characters lacked dimension. It was hard to believe that these smart teens were anchoring themselves to teen boys so permanently. Reading about the Seton Girls' worlds as they orbited the boys became frustrating, especially when I was multiple chapters into the book and there was still no "hook," no reason presented *within* the book to keep reading. (The book jacket copy provides a hook, but there is no sign of that for a very long time in the actual chapters.) 

I tried to finish this one, but could not, especially knowing that I would not use it in my creative writing classes. Still, I will look for Charlene Thomas' next book and wish the author the very best. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read this ARC!
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SETON GIRLS by Charlene Thomas 

Thanks for letting me snag a copy of this one at ALA @duttonbooks ✨

CW: Classism, Violence, Sexual harassment, Rape, Alcohol, Bullying, Toxic relationship, Sexual violence, Sexual assault, Sexism, Misogyny, Gaslighting, and Emotional abuse.

I’m gonna start off by saying I feel like a bad queer for my fav read in June being the only non-queer book I read 🥲🥲🥲 don’t come for me this book SLAPS. 

What I liked: 
-The emphasis on platonic relationships vs. romantic relationships. When I was growing up all the YA books I felt like were popular were very centered around romance, so it was cool to see platonic relationships taking center stage. 

-The commentary on privilege especially white privilege but also male privilege and where those privileges intersect. 

-The cult-like mentality around this school/ football team. I was completely sucked in to this world and why people were so obsessed with this school. 

-The writing was so good! I felt like Charlene acutely captured that feeling of being on the precipice of adulthood, that indestructible feeling that a lot of teens have. Like you know everything but nothing at the same time. 

Final thoughts: would highly recommend! It’s been a while since I was sucked into a book like this one pulled me in. There’s A LOT to unpack in this novel and I think Charlene absolutely smashed it. I think the conversations this book will ignite amounts young people are very necessary. Make sure to take a peak at the content warnings for this one before diving in!
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What a ride! Loved this book, this world, and most especially loved these Girls! The Seton set felt so real and so immersive - filled with true to life scenarios and glimpses into a lot of what students are dealing with right now - Seton Girls made a big impression on me and is a book that I know many will devour. Great read from start to finish.
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