I'm the Girl
by Courtney Summers
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Pub Date 13 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 27 Sep 2022
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
Named a Best Book of the Year by BuzzFeed * CrimeReads * Indigo * Kirkus Reviews * School Library Journal * Shelf Awareness, 4 starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Shelf Awareness!
Available now from bestselling and award-winning author Courtney Summers, an "emotionally raw and brutally captivating" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) queer coming-of-age thriller based loosely on the Epstein case that's "not for the faint of heart." (The New York Times)
All sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis wants is everything, but the poverty and hardship that defines her life has kept her from the beautiful and special things she knows she deserves. When she stumbles upon the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, Georgia teams up with Ashley's older sister Nora, to find the killer before he strikes again, and their investigation throws Georgia into a glittering world of unimaginable privilege and wealth--and all she's ever dreamed. But behind every dream lurks a nightmare, and Georgia must reconcile her heart's desires with what it really takes to survive. As Ashley's killer closes in and their feelings for one another grow, Georgia and Nora will discover when money, power, and beauty rule, it's not always a matter of who is guilty but who is guiltiest--and the only thing that might save them is each other.
I’m the Girl is a brutal and illuminating account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 714 members
This gripping, addictive, riveting cutthroat wild ride makes you numb for hours! You keep giving empty looks, staying speechless as the whirlwind thoughts occupy your mind!
Another bold, depressing story is coming from Courtney Summers hit you like a sucker punch! Her words make you dizzy, disturbed, flabbergasted, shocked!
This book is telling the ugly realistic Aspera world ruling entire town, wrapping law enforcement around its finger. This is the real, bleak, ruthless, vicious world where only money, power and beauty rule!
Georgia Savis wants to be a part of this world by acting her dead mother’s wishes: she wants to be privileged Asperan girl. She wants to be adored. She wants to glow! She wants to feel the pure love!
But her mother’s words keep repeating in her head: “it’s better to know who you are than who you think you’re meant to be.”
Georgia’s life changes when she gets attacked, left in the middle of the road after she’s found 13 years old Ashley James, raped and brutally killed. The same people committed the murder might be her attackers who not only hit her with their car, they also stole her bike, left her unconscious. And she keeps telling the victim’s father Justin James who is the sheriff and her elder sister Nora: she didn’t see the faces of the perpetrators.
She’s lucky enough to be found and taken care by Chloe-Matthew Hayese who perfectly sit on the throne of Aspera Empire, giving Georgia a summer job that help paying the debts after stealing from her brother.
She thinks if she behaves and earns trusts of Hayeses, the sky is the limit.
But there are still unanswered questions out there: who killed Ashley James? Who stole her intimate photos she planned to use for her modeling career? What secrets are hidden behind the closed doors of Aspera?
Georgia is complex, flawed, struggling character who is way too much naive, allured by the pure beauty, lost, loveless, sad, lonely. Only thing she wants to be cherished, loved unconditionally, kissed, held! You get every right to get angry of her obtuseness, naivety. She created a dreamy world in her head and Aspera is the kingdom of the fairytale she’s written. But when the harsh reality collided into her dreams, only thing she is forced to do is waking up from that dreamy world and accept frightening nightmares of her own life!
This book is thought provoking, sad, intriguing!
I loved the bitter ending! Absolutely another heartbreaking, well executed, impeccably written book from Ms. Summers!
Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
Thank you, Wednesday Books, for allowing me to read I'm the Girl early!
Courtney Summers is a writer like no other. A writing style that is brutal and raw, in the most beautiful and emotional way. Thrilling and completely addictive, I'm the Girl delves into the not-so-hidden secrets of beauty and its destructive power. I'm obsessed with this story.
As a reader, I always know that going into a Courtney Summers book means that there will be no happy ending, in fact, you will be utterly devastated by the end of the journey. Now, does this make me back away from reading them? No. Maybe I’m a masochist or maybe I prefer unhappy endings in art (what can I say? Watching Romeo & Juliet at 4 has fucked up my expectations).
Georgia Avis has grand expectations for herself and she’s convinced that working at the exclusive resort Aspera will bring her in close contact with people who matter and will help her kickstart her dreams. Although life for her takes a dark turn when she stumbles upon the dead body of 13-years old Ashley James and the killer is still on the loose and has stolen Georgia’s modeling photos. In order to repay her brother back of the $4k she stole to pay for her modeling photos, Georgia gets a job at Aspera, but is sad when she’s not offered to become an “Apera girl” but rather is left to work in an office alone.
Georgia yearns for the life of the rich and famous, thinking that it will save her from her boring existence, but she doesn’t know the price one truly has to pay to sometimes get the things they want. There’s a particular scene in the book that is equal parts disturbing and horrifying as you see how a man in power manages to expertly manipulate Georgia into thinking that she actually has the power, while in reality she never did.
The thriller/murder mystery aspect of the novel was expertly executed and I loved how everything fell into place without feeling like it came out of the left field for the sake of a twist.
The ending will leave you feeling both frustrated and helpless, but knowing that in the circumstances Georgia was in, it was going to be a given that she’d never had the upper hand.
Another deliciously binge-worthy read that will have you flipping the pages as you get immersed in the decadent world of Aspera while leaving you with a serious case of FOMO like Georgia as she wonders what is going on the executive floor.
*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Absolute winner! Welcome to the world of power and privilege where women or doing whatever they can to basically make it. I absolutely loved this book. The main character was relatable and I absolutely routed for her! Definitely recommend.
Courtney Summers is a genius.
As far as I'm concerned, that's not even up for debate. No one does it like her, for good reason! Summers is unafraid to keep her protagonists prickly and world-weary and unlikable, and she fearlessly takes on the myriad ways this world is built to hurt and exploit and overlook and fetishize girls. Summers herself has described I'M THE GIRL as the 'spiritual sequel' to SADIE, which seems to have confused some readers or led them to believe that this novel is retreading the same ground or attempting to 'outdo' her runaway hit. This is a misreading, both of Summers' goals with I'M THE GIRL and of the complicated narrative moves she's made in this novel. Like SADIE, I'M THE GIRL pulls at the threads of patriarchal power structures, revealing patriarchy's spider-like network of support systems, and like most of Summers' novels, it does so by hyper-focusing on a young woman whose life has been upended by unspeakable trauma.
Unlike Sadie, though, I'M THE GIRL's Georgia isn't cynical and jaded, hasn't been worn ragged by the cruelties of the world. George is a dreamer who is drawn to the glittering world of the elite and all the opportunity it represents, and she's just starting to understand the fickle power her beauty affords. After so many wise and weary Summers protagonists like Romy, Sadie, and Parker, Georgia's naïveté seems almost offensive. I spent much of the book wanting to shake her by the shoulders, to get her to wake up and see the horrible truth of Aspira and the Hayes that leers from every page, plain as day. But she doesn't, until it's far too late -- and this isn't a fault of George's but rather proof of how insidious this sort of abuse and exploitation is; it's so horrible, so unthinkable that it hides itself in plain sight, relying on the disbelief and obliviousness of others to turn a blind eye. If SADIE is a novel concerned with patriarchy (and the true crime genre)'s external manipulation and exploitation of girls and their traumas, then I'M THE GIRL is concerned with patriarchy's internal manipulation of girls -- that George longs to be an Aspira Girl without necessarily understanding the full implications of that title, longs to wield the power she thinks her beauty represents, is not a miscalculation on Summers' part but rather a sickening look at how sexual abusers have learned to co-opt third wave feminism's sex positivity into girls' internalized willingness to participate in their own abuse. (Which is not to say that the novel or Summers or I take an anti-sex work stance or a sex-negative stance! Rather, the novel brilliantly demonstrates how blurry the lines can be, particularly when some women have opted to gain whatever power they can by colluding with the patriarchy.)
I could write about this novel for ages -- it's thrilling and tender and sharp and soft. Summers never gets enough credit for the formal risks she takes in her books, but I was blown away by this novel's construction. A stellar, stellar read.