You know the story--or do you? Cady Heron grew up homeschooled in Africa with scientist parents as her teachers, monkeys as her classmates and the African plains as her playground. But when her family moves to the suburbs of Illinois, she finds herself a stranger in a strange land: high school. With no prior research to guide her, Cady's forced to figure out North Shore High all on her own. Suddenly she finds herself sucked into Girl World as a new member of the social elite dubbed "The Plastics." Cady discovers that unlike the wild, Girl World doesn't have any rules--especially when you maybe, possibly, okay definitely, have a giant crush on their ruthless leader's ex-boyfriend. Turns out, life in high school might be even more brutal than a showdown on the Savannah. Based on the screenplay by Tina Fey, this retelling of the cult classic film includes tons of extra, never-before-seen bonus content.
MEAN GIRLS, the book, is a strict adaptation of the film in that it follows the plotline almost exactly without adding in new scenes, people, or ideas. Ostow even describes the characters’ actions and mannerisms the same way the actors behave in the movie. The two are so alike that sometimes I wondered what the point was of reading the book, when I could just watch the film.
I did like that the book was told from multiple perspectives. Most of the story, of course, is told through Cady, but Janis, Gretchen, Karen, Regina, Aaron, and even Damien all have their own chapters. Shifting between points of view is a creative decision by Ostow, as it allows the story to remain in first person and still be inclusive of information the film version provides to the audience. For instance, if the novel was only told from Cady’s perspective, the readers would not know that Damian was messing with the votes for Spring Fling Queen. The multiple P-O-Vs solve that problem.
Ostow also disseminates further information in varied and interesting ways. As opposed to using the characters for “telling” moments, Ostow adds in text of the morning announcements, excerpts from the school newspaper, excerpts from Cady’s diary, text messages between characters, emails between characters, and more. These are unexpected and fun, and also help with the world building.
Overall, I would have liked the book to expand on the MEAN GIRLS I already know, whether that be more insight into the characters, scenes the audience wasn’t already privy to, or an exploration of ‘what if this happened instead.’ With that being said, mega-fans of the movie will have a field day with this book, not to mention the new musical that will be making its Broadway debut on March 12, 2018. Enjoy, Plastics.