A school cover-up and conspiracy will always hook me. And while I could predict the THING early on, I loved to watch it unfold. Seton Girls gives me “Promising Young Woman” vibes. It’s a story about friendship and speaking out. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Seton Academic High is a prep school obsessed with its football team and their thirteen-year conference win streak, a record that players always say they’d never have without Seton’s girls. What exactly Seton girls do to make them so valuable, though, no one ever really says. They’re just the best. But the team’s quarterback, the younger brother of the Seton star who started the 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. Bigger rewards require bigger risks, and soon the actual secrets to the team’s enduring success leak to a small group of girls who suddenly have the power to change their world forever.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: sexism, mentions of rape, sexual assault
As someone who went to a school with an intense school and sport spirit, I felt like Seton Girls was almost like a page from my psyche. This almost group reality of pedestals, school events with sinister atmospheres, and knowing looks that stun into silence. There’s something so specific about this climate. One which is only propped up with a dark foundation to the legacy we know. So for me, Seton Girls felt even closer to home. There’s this almost alluring power to the “It Crowd” like moths to a flame.
To people who want to cast the past in a new light, to bring forth their version of a future no matter the cost. And to see behind the curtain while it can feel illuminating, it’s also terrifying. Like finally seeing the marionette strings on the puppets around us. Because of that, Seton Girls immediately had a sinister suspenseful feeling as I was just waiting for that other shoe to drop. For it to be revealed. And that suspense carried me through the entire book.
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Even more than that, Seton Girls plays with the timeline. It allows us to see what their friendship used to be like. To see the signs before they even knew it – to read between the lines. All the cracks in this awful house of cards as it turns into an avalanche. How the manipulative ones can always turn the charm on, to don the mask, when they want to be. Seton Girls is such a good comp to “Promising Young Women” as it examines this toxic dream and legacy.
The ways men and society will provide excuses. When some people get second chances to prove they aren’t the “type”. It can be hard to read at some times, but it celebrates speaking up and also individual sources of resistance and resilience. Find Seton Girls on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.