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Review: Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s post is a little bit of a long one, honestly. Sorry, not sorry. I have a lot to say about this book, and I’m so glad I read it. I can already say here in the intro that I recommend it. So yeah, I’m not even going to waste time talking about anything else. Let’s just go ahead and jump into the review.

Screen Queens

Summary

The Bold Type meets The Social Network when three girls vying for prestigious summer internships through a startup incubator program uncover the truth about what it means to succeed in the male-dominated world of tech.

This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.

Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

Meet the Screen Queens.

Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party.

East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.

Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.

Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type. 

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I am not up to date with the show “The Bold Type,” but I did watch 3 or 4 episodes at least of the first season, and the comparison alone was enough to catch my interest. Then add to that the fact that this book is about three teen girls who want to make their way in the male-dominated tech industry, and I was certainly intrigued.

I can admit that of the three main ladies, Lucy was the one I connected to the least, at least until towards the end of the story. But to be fair, she doesn’t connect with the other two ladies much until deeper into the story either. I think she’s meant to be a little separate from everyone else, so I understand that.

Each of the ladies: Lucy, Maddie, and Delia, were so individual. It was easy to tell which of the three we were following because their personalities and their attitudes and their speech patterns and everything were unique. Sometimes with multi-perspective novels each voice sounds pretty similar, and I didn’t feel that way with this story.

Also, there were so many twists and turns and speed bumps and typical teen drama, but I was very invested in the story. And it was nice that they were at this tech incubator program and there was a big focus on the app building and lectures and lessons and actual work on the final project. I know there have been some stories where characters go to a tech camp or whatever and then there’s barely any mention of anything tech related, so it was nice that this story was heavily focused on the tech industry.

And this story was tough to read at times. There is a lot of misogyny and unfair treatment and even verbal and sexual harassment going on in here. So often the women in this story would mention having to ignore verbal jabs or insults or more simply so they could continue in the tech industry. You just have to accept that the men are going to treat you as inferior. Frankly it was insulting and eye-opening. It really makes me wish that there was a bit more equality in the world.

Now, I have to talk about a quote that upset me and made me set the book down for a few minutes. My reaction to it may be a little overboard but honestly, I’m glad that this story was such a thought provoking and emotion provoking tale. Honestly, just because of how dramatic and intense this story was, it has probably already secured a spot on my Top Ten Reads of 2019 (July-Dec) list.

“It was my mother who inspired Pulse,’ he said. ‘Not directly of course, as she was a librarian and even now can barely log in to her Pulse account without help.”

Grrr…this character who made this comment was such a dudebro jerkface. So good job on Lori Goldstein for writing a character who can evoke such a strong emotional reaction in the reader. Or at least in this reader. I don’t know how others feel/felt about him.

I wanted to yell at the character who said this, because like so many people he has this misconception about librarians. I’ve witnessed it all too many times in my everyday life. People still think of librarians in the stereotypes of 60+ years ago: middle aged women in skirts and cardigans and with her hair in a severe bun and glasses on a chain. People still think of librarians as buried in books and holding a finger to her lips and saying “SHHH!” all the time. And that is absolutely untrue.

Based on the age of the character who said this, he is roughly my age, so that would roughly make his mother around the same age as mine. Now, my mom was a librarian, and while she is not the most tech-savvy, she is still proficient enough, and she can certainly log on to a social media platform without help. Heck, my mother’s mother only needed help a couple times to log into Facebook and such, and now she gets on without assistance all the time to keep in touch with all of us grandkids.

So for being a character who is a big wig at a social media platform, he is a ill-informed, condescending, arrogant, idiot, who definitely does not have his finger on the Pulse (excuse the pun–I had to).

Wow…this may be the longest review I’ve written for a book, and that’s just because of a single quote that led me off on a ranting tangent.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

5 thoughts on “Review: Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein”

  1. lol, I hear you on one single point prompting a couple paragraphs of ranting that’s about as long as the rest of the review! I’ve seen this book around, but while I think the credit is well-deserved, books about women trying to prove themselves and having to deal with being condescended to and treated as inferior makes me so mad and depressed, I can’t deal with those. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever needed to rant on a single point like that, lol.

      I can see your point, and it was a maddening and frustrating part of the book to see these smart and capable women treated as if they should be inferior to men. Most of the time I read to escape the issues of everyday life; it’s one of the reasons why I love fantasy. While yes, there will be conflict similar to reality, it is also there with the backdrop of magic or a fictional world.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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