Sarah Strohmeyer's 2012 young adult contemporary Smart Girls Get What They Want is one of those books I picked up due to raging curiosity. I had been checking out reviews for her newest effort, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, (what's with the long titles?) and there were several reviewers who mentioned how that book wasn't quite as strong as Smart Girls. With my interest piqued, I decided to give Smart Girls a try. I can't say how it compares to Zoe and her dreams yet, but it definitely turned out to be a welcome addition to my library of light and bubbly reads. Kicking things off is a prologue that sets the stage nicely. Gigi, Neerja, and Bea - friends since kindergarten - have spent their school lives aiming for the heights of academic excellence, determined to get into Ivy League Colleges where their lives can really begin. Just before they start their high school sophomore year, however, an unexpected event shakes their confidence in their chosen path and they worry they may be missing too much along the way. What's a smart girl to do? Come up with a kick-butt plan to become participants in their high school lives and not let the world pass them by! The story is told through the eyes of Gigi, a teen with an upbeat personality, a ton of confidence in her intelligence, but a bit lost when it comes to dealing with kids her own age. When her academic career is jeopardized by an accusation of cheating on an exam with popular jock Mike, Gigi ends up running for student representative to the school board - even though she is terrified of public speaking. As if that's not enough, she is determined to support her best friends in their endeavors as well, trying out for the school play with Neerja and joining the ski team with Bea. I adored Gigi, and experiencing the story from her point of view was highly entertaining - especially her interactions with Mike and the way she happily threw herself into the breach in support of her friends. She had such a positive attitude, even when nerves tried to get the best of her, that I felt happy and relaxed while reading. Hands down, I think my favorite scenes had to be the ones that involved the ski team in some way, shape or form, because when you take a girl who is a complete beginner and throw her into the competitive skiing world, hijinks and laughter WILL ensue. Add in the incredulous reactions of everyone around her - including Mike - and it makes it even sweeter. While Bea and Neerja weren't as developed as Gigi (this is strictly a one-girl narrative), it wasn't necessary - they were fleshed out enough to give me a solid understanding of their characters so I was rooting for them to succeed. A sweet twist was watching Neerja get exactly what she wanted only to discover it wasn't quite what she expected. Bea was probably the most confident of the three girls; raised as she was in a family of lawyers she was always up for a good debate and seemed to have the phrase "Never let them see you sweat" ingrained in her psyche. It was great to see the different ways the girls reacted to guys. Neerja was quietly pining for Justin, the gorgeous boy she'd had a crush on for years, Gigi was knocked off balance by the even better looking new kid in school, Will, while Bea didn't have any boy in her sights until the very end - at which point she flat out announced her intentions to Gigi and had me convinced she would get exactly who she was aiming for. I wasn't sure what to make of Mike at first. He seemed like the stereotypical jock who places school as his lowest priority when he was first introduced. As the story progressed, though, there were flashes of another side to him that intrigued me - and Gigi, as well. The chemistry between her and Mike seemed to grow naturally throughout the story, and it soon became obvious he had feelings for her. I do wish there had been a bit more of Mike threaded into the story, though, because I was really liking him by the end. Gigi's attention was split, however, between him and Will - who also turned out to have chemistry with Gigi and some unexpected sides to his character. I loved the way author Sarah Strohmeyer developed the relationships between Gigi and both boys parallel to each other, and the way it wasn't clear at first which one Gigi would choose. About halfway through, though, it was easy for me to see which direction the romance would go even if Gigi was still confused. While it wasn't the most complex of love triangles, it was cute and all was right with the world by the end. Even though it is easy to see which guys should be with which girls, the romances aren't the heart of this story - friendship is. These girls have had each other's backs since kindergarten, and high school and boys won't stop them now! It is so wonderful to see three intelligent girls supporting each other, working together to obtain their goals, and learning together that there is more to life than just getting a great education - there's actually living it. Each girl had a moment to shine, and the other two were always there cheering them on. They never put each other down, and even though Gigi slipped once by putting a boy before her friends, she quickly realized her error and made amends. With its quick and sprightly pacing, sweet characters, and romances that don't overwhelm the friendship between the three girls, Smart Girls Get What They Want is another of those easy-breezy reads that is perfect for times when you just want to read something light and fun. The only thing I wanted more of was Mike - not because of his romantic prospects with Gigi, but because I really liked his character and wanted to have him in more scenes. Overall, Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer is nachos entertainment (a bit more substance than popcorn) with a sunny attitude when you need it.