Book Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

winning

Winning

Release date: June 28th 2016

3.5 stars

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?

I was hooked into this book by the ‘Mean Girls’-esque sounding plot and the synopsis proclaiming ‘Election meets House of Cards’. There were characters I was set to dislike, characters I was set to root for, and characters I was set to root for their downfall. The more I read though, the more I found myself actually hoping the characters I was expecting to hate would find some way to come out on top.

Alexandra, or Lexi, was the main character but we also get other POVs such as Sam, her best friend/lackey; Ivy, the outsider; and Sloan, a wannabe. Alexandra was manipulative, cunning, and just down-right mean. Her goal was the homecoming queen crown and when new girl Erin threatened that, she was determined to find a way to bring her down. She was ruthless, she knew it, and that just made her character a lot of fun to read. I loved that she had depth outside of just being a mean girl. She was really smart, not just at the high school mean girl games, but in her classes. She excelled with extracurricular activities. She had dreams of getting out of her small town and leaving her verbally abusive mother behind so she would be free, once and for all.

The other three POV characters were all also interesting. Sam, Lexi’s best friend who was treated more like a lackey, would go along with all the plans and help in whatever ways she could. Ivy was an outsider after an incident freshman year suddenly thrust into the spotlight when she got nominated for homecoming queen and Lexi set her eyes on using her. Sloan was someone who knew how ruthless Lexi could be from personal experience and had been waiting for the perfect time to take her down. Erin, the new girl, was a POV we never got but she was just as important a character as the others. Her arrival was what spawned the whole plan, her nice, sweet girl personality had the whole school falling in love with her. I really liked that we never got Erin’s POV since it made me question whether she really was as nice as she seemed or if she was just as cunning and ruthless as Lexi underneath it all.

I really liked that, at first, when the girls were planning Lexi’s downfall, I was on board with it, but as I read on, I felt myself actually rooting for Lexi to find a way through it all. She wasn’t a forgivable character in any way and the fact that she had a horrible home life wasn’t an excuse for anything she did, but I still found myself wanting her to find a way out. I thought the author did a great job in finding ways to make her a sympathetic character without sacrificing her cunning and ruthless side. The book could work as a standalone but it also set up well for a sequel.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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3 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

3 responses to “Book Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

  1. Great review! I literally cannot wait to read this book 🙂

  2. Pingback: Weekly Reading Recap | Overflowing Bookshelves

  3. Pingback: June Wrap-up/July TBR | Overflowing Bookshelves

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