Review: Girls With Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman

Title: Girls with Bright Futures

Author: Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman

Published: 2nd February 2021, Sourcebooks Landmark

Status: Read January 2021 courtesy Sourcebooks/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

“…as long as you had the money and status to back you up, every line was made to be crossed.”

When Stanford alerts the elite Elliot Bay Academy it only has only one early offer place for its graduating students, the competition for the slot quickly spirals out of control. Tech mogul Alicia is determined that her daughter, Brooke, will attend Stanford no matter the cost, Kelly will do anything to ensure her daughter Krissie will be the chosen one, while Maren, with none of the advantages of her wealthy rivals, and her job as Alicia’s PA on the line, doesn’t know how to tell her daughter, Winnie, that her Stanford dream is over.

With excellent pacing Girls With Bright Futures unfolds over two timelines and from three perspectives. It begins with a prologue which reveals one of the three Stanford hopefuls has been the victim of a hit and run, and then moves to a few weeks prior as Maren and Winnie are being informed by the school’s college counselor that Winnie needs to rethink her application to Stanford. It’s immediately clear to them both that while Winnie is the strongest academic candidate, Brooke has the edge because of her mother’s wealth and status. While Winnie isn’t willing to back down, Alicia has made it clear to Maren that should Winnie compete with Brooke for the spot, Maren will be fired, and renege on a secret deal that provides financial support for Winnie’s schooling. Meanwhile Kelly, PTA President and Stanford alum, whose daughter is perpetually in 2nd place to Winnie, and is not quite wealthy or powerful enough to compete with Alicia, attempts to topple Krissie’s rivals with gossip and innuendo.

With my own daughter having graduated highschool last year, I am so glad for the far more egalitarian higher education system in place here. While the authors insist that the events in this novel are an exaggerated, they seem all too plausible given recent, and past events in the US news. Some parents have already proved they are willing to do anything to ensure their precious offspring has every advantage, and when they can’t earn it, they are willing to pay, manipulate, or even kill (hello Texas Cheerleader Mom) to ensure it.

Alicia Stone is a character you love to hate, selfish and entitled she wields her privilege without mercy. Her behaviour is repetitively appalling, there is more than one instance in which she takes advantage of Winnie, and as Maren’s employer she is endlessly demanding. Brooke is an extension of her ego, rather than a person in her own right.

As for Kelly, her whole self is invested in her children’s achievements and while she definitely crosses the line, at least she recognises there is one.

Naturally it’s Maren that attracts the most sympathy, a single mom doing everything she can to support her bright daughter but caught in a difficult situation, given her reliance on her employer. And is if that’s not enough, she is totally blindsided when her rivals machinations dig up a painful secret from her past.

For me, the authors struck just the right note with Girls With Bright Futures. I found the pace to be addictive, the drama wickedly entertaining, and the epilogue hugely satisfying.


Available from Sourcebooks

Or from your preferred retailer via Indiebound I Book Depository I Booko I Amazon

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Feb 05, 2021 @ 07:57:03

    You are reviewing some real winners this week!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Susan
    Feb 06, 2021 @ 00:13:24

    This one does sound compelling!


    Liked by 1 person


  3. Helen Murdoch
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 05:44:05

    This sounds like a book I’d really enjoy so I am adding it to my TBR list. As you say, art imitating life!

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  5. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Feb 09, 2021 @ 01:52:39

    Sounds like a book that could be ripped from the headlines! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person


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