“Take Three Girls” by Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood, and Simmone Howell

Cyber-bullying in high school? These days? Nawwww. Never. Sense the sarcasm? Well you should because cyber-bullying is becoming as real as ever at St. Hilda’s private school. Almost everyone at St. Hilda’s has social media and smartphones (like everyone else in this world), which makes bullying behind a screen even easier. St. Hilda school girls, Kate, Clem, and Ady, quickly become targets on a cyber-bullying site called PSST. Who knows why this site exists, but it sure does get the job done, because there is more drama and insecurities than ever lurking this elite boarding school. Not only does this novel capture how to deal with cyber-bullying but it also incorporates themes of friendship, feminism, self-love, and much more.

Ady, Clem, and Kate initially don’t have a lot in common. The only thing they have is common is that they go to the same school and they all know of each other. Throughout the story their relationship unfolds, but at the start, they didn’t really know each other.

Adelaide, mostly called Ady, is not all she is cracked up to be. Who initially starred as a spoiled, popular, rich girl turns to be a very kind and relatable teenage girl. Her picturesque life and perfect family is going through way more than what everyone sees. Her dad’s health is failing, which has taken a toll on the family’s finances. At first, I thought Ady’s character was going to be portrayed at the Regina George of the Mean Girls friend group, but I was proven otherwise. Ady’s popular friend group is bullied on PSST for having eating disorders and being suicidal. Unlike Regina, Ady is actually a nice person. She sticks up for her friends during this time, providing them empathy to help her friends get through the negativity.

Clem is a super relatable character. Right from the get go, she seems to be the most “normal”. She’s kind of like the all-American (well, all-Australian girl in this case) girl. We all have friends like her or we are her. Her summary in the little excerpt states, “disenchanted, swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy” (Crowley 4). This was literally me in high school, except replace swim with dance. Along with her bad relationship with Stu (AKA the “wrong boy”), Clem is also struggling with her weight. Don’t we all? After finally taking a break from swimming, Clem has put on a few pounds, which is very typical of a retired athlete. Well, PSST has found a new target, and it’s Clem’s weight. One of the posts was titled, “PSST: Fat Clam’s Walk of Shame” (Crowley 54). Whoever is in charge of this mockery website clearly has issues.

Kate is struggling to choose to pursue a career in music (her passion) or medicine (her parent’s passion for her). Kate is a very indecisive girl, which strikes me as very annoying. There’s one scene where she is debating on whether she should cross the road, which isn’t that hard of a decision, and she stands there for almost a minute, going back and forth with whether she should or not. I can be a little indecisive, but not like that. Holy moly. I just wanted to pull her across the street at one point. She does, however, become more likeable as her character unfolds later on in the novel. Kate ends up following her musical dream. Along the way, she meets this guy named Oliver. Oliver is just as brainy and musically gifted as her, so it’s fun seeing such similar characters hit it off. Kate was the first to get bullied by PSST with the post, “Rate the Borders” (Crowley 47). This caused drama with her and Oliver, go figure, but it did open her up a bit, which I think was needed.

So, what brings these characters together, you ask? A Year 10 Wellness class. This class was supposed to help with all of the drama and bullying, and it actually did. The three girls ended up being in this class together. Once acquaintances, the three girls become the best of friends. They learn to cope with the negative comments on the site and figure out ways to help others tormented by them. They also work together to figure out the evil, master-mind behind it. Does this sound familiar? Gossip Girl, anyone? Pretty Little Liars, who? I’m obviously not going to tell you who’s behind it. You’re just going to have to read it for yourself, but it’s a pretty epic discovery. Not that surprising, but still everything you wanted. In the end, Clem leaves Stu for a better guy. Ady transfers schools, and Clem follows her love for music rather than her parent’s love for medical school. Like many YA novel endings, this one is also a happy one.

Did I mention that three separate authors wrote the book? Pretty incredible, considering the cohesion. Each author wrote from each girl’s point of view. You can see slight differences in the writing styles, but that only builds the character’s of the girls that much more. Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood, and Simone Howell do an amazing job capturing a realistic interpretation of what high school, teen girls experience in this social media world. I would highly recommend added this YA to your list!


Work Cited:

Crowley, Cath, et al. “These Three Girls”. Australia: Pan Australia, 2017.

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