Winning by Lara Zeises Deloza
House of Cards meets Election in this wickedly entertaining story about an uber-ambitious high school junior.
Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?
Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.
Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.
With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
Some girls are born to wear a baseball cap without an ounce of irony. Think of those long-legged, gamine creatures whose tans are never fake-baked, whose shoulders are broader than those of their boyfriends, and who tend to have a pair of blindingly white sneakers they save for “dress up.”
Some girls are born wanting so desperately to blend in that they spend hours trying to coax their locks into one of those messy-bun-and-elastic-headband combos that are so on-trend.
I am not like any of those girls.
No, I was born to wear a crown.
MY FEELS. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS RIGHT NOW. What an awesomely hilarious, surprisingly feminist book.
I have recently become addicted to House of Cards. I’ve never been interested in political drama, but one episode in, and before I knew it, I was binge watching like there’s no tomorrow. It’s fucking awesome, y’all. The conniving. The plotting. The ruthless ambition. SO MUCH EVIL. It makes my heart happy 😀 So when I saw the “for fans of House of Cards” thing in this book’s blurb, I was off clicking “request” faster than a dress on prom night.
This book has humor, intelligence, wit, and a lesbian. UNF. If you want clichéd high school characters that you love to love, this book isn’t for you. If you love an anti-hero, and you’re somewhat of a power-hungry beeyotch irl (or appreciate one), you will love this book. I know I did. Throughout the book, this was my expression.
I love a bad-ass bitch, and Alexandra is the baddest bitch of all. Furthermore, she knows it, she flaunts it, and she is not ashamed of it.
Yes, I am the future Homecoming Queen of Spencer High, and my underwear model-hot boyfriend is both quarterback and captain of our nationally ranked football team. Together, we’re not only high school royalty, we’re the stuff of legends.
Does this make me a cliché, too?
Maybe. But clichés are the currency of the world. At the end of the day, I’m the one other girls aspire to be, the one every straight boy—and at least one not-so-straight girl—dreams of being with.
Alexandra’s goal this year is to be homecoming queen. Let’s get one thing straight. Alexandra is not stupid. She is brilliant. She’s got excellent grades, plenty of extracurricular activities, and as she said herself, she can get a scholarship to anywhere in the country. Alexandra lives in a small town. She wants to gtfo of it. An admirable dream. But getting a scholarship is easy. This, homecoming queen -> Miss Indiana -> Miss America. That’s a better way to do it.
Alexandra isn’t just a pretty face, and she knows it. She is cunning, devious, and ruthless. On the surface, she is the one that everyone likes…but not for the reason you’d expect.
The majority of my classmates know that I am someone they’re supposed to like. I have the ear of every teacher, coach, and administrator here. I make things happen at this school. I am someone they want on their side.
Alexandra (Lexi) is a shoo-in to win, but then a new girl appears at school to threaten her plans. Together with Sam, her “loyal little sycophant,” Lexi plots and schemes her way to the throne. Hilarity ensues.
OH MY GOD I LOVED THIS BOOK
I love the ambiguity. There’s a fine line between good guys and bad guys. The wimp has a spine. Everyone has an agenda. It has the essence of House of Cards, for once, the blurb does the book justice. Sam can best be described asDoug the Chief of Staff. Seemingly a sycophant, the underling who gets things done, but she has a complex personality of her own.
Lexi, however ruthless of a person she is, is a good person. She isn’t prejudiced. She stands up for what she believes in. She sticks up for Sam when other girls were prejudiced against her sexuality.
It was Lexi who stuck up for me. “You’re a disgusting homophobe,” she told Ashley. “Not to mention a conceited one. Just because someone likes girls doesn’t mean they’ll like you.”
Lexi has Sam’s loyalty because she earned it.
Lexi is such an interesting character. A conundrum. As a society, we tend to find extremely beautiful women and pageant girls to be dumb, dimwitted characters. Lexi is the opposite of that. She’s got class, not spelled with a K. She may participate in pageants. She may aspire to be Homecoming Queen, but there is never, ever a doubt that she is brilliant. If ever there was a book about girl power, this is it. She is so fierce, yet she tugs at my heartstrings. The way she comes to self-actualization makes me feel things.
The crown is not the prize—I am.
All in all, a spectacular debut.
All quotes were taken from an Advanced Reader’s Copy subject to change in the final edition.