Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Review: Sorority

Sorority
Genevieve Sly Crane
Publication date: May 1, 2018
Prep meets Girls in White Dresses in Genevieve Sly Crane’s deliciously addictive, compulsively readable exploration of female friendship and coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about what goes on in a sorority house…

Margot is dead.

There’s a rumor she died because she couldn’t take the pressure of being a pledge. You may not ask what happened to her. It’s not your business. But it wasn’t a suicide, if you’re wondering.

Spring Fling will not be cancelled. The deposit is non-refundable. And Margot would have wanted the sisterhood to continue in her absence, if only to protect her sisters’ secrets: Shannon is the thinnest girl in the house (the other sisters hate her for it, but they know her sacrifice: she only uses the bathroom by the laundry room); Kyra has slept with twenty-nine boys since she started college (they are all different and all the same); Amanda is a virgin (her mincing gait and sloping posture give it away); and while half the sisters are too new to have known Margot, Deirdre remembers her—she always remembers.

With a keen sense of character and unflinching, observant prose, Crane exposes the undercurrents of tension in a world where perfection comes at a cost and the best things in life are painful—if not impossible—to acquire: Beauty. A mother’s love. And friendship…or at least the appearance of it. - from Goodreads
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

As a member of a co-ed service fraternity in college, I was interested in reading Sorority, because there don't seem to be a lot of books out there about the college experience.  If I had read this book before rushing my fraternity, I probably never would have gone through with it!  This sorority experience isn't all puff paint and toga parties, but a dark look at college Greek life.

This book is less of a linear story and more a compilation of vignettes, each devoted to one or two sisters and sometimes a "chorus" narrator.  I was a bit surprised by the structure of the book, especially because the blurb made me think it would be about the death of one of the sisters (Margot), what happened and the other sisters' reactions to it.  But, Margot isn't even mentioned in a lot of the stories, and the timeline skips around several years.  It took me awhile to get into the book, but once I started approaching each chapter as its own new story, I could appreciate it more.

Within the chapters, Crane has crafted a look into different aspects of sorority life - what might happen if a sister got pregnant, the friendships that last long after graduation, and how not everyone will get along all the time.  There is a pervasive darkness to the stories - drug use and drinking are rampant throughout the house, and one story explores a sexual assault that occurs during pledging.  I thought some stories didn't fit at all, including (surprisingly) a chapter on the founders, and one of my favorite chapters was actually a short one with each sister detailing what pledging meant to her.

Crane's writing is sharp and tight, which really highlights, in a no-nonsense way, the messy, gritty lives of these girls, inside and outside the house.  The stories often feel raw and give the reader a super-personal look into the characters.  While I don't think this book is representative of every fraternity or sorority (particularly not my experience), there's enough realness here to give the reader a peek behind the curtain of Greek life.

3.5 stars

20 comments:

  1. I don't know a lot about the whole sorority business (we don't have that sort of thing in Belgium) so I think this could be an interesting book.

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    1. I think this is an exaggerated version of Greek life, but some of the stuff could definitely happen.

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  2. Having been in a sorority, I'd definitely be interested in seeing how this book compares to my experience. And you're right, there don't seem to be that many books out there that deal with the college experience. I'd love to see more. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! This was definitely different from my experience (we didn't have a house, to start), but I'd be curious to see what others think of it.

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  3. I SO want to read this book. I didn't know about it, but I love anything in college (that isn't NA sex-stuff) & I like sorority books-- especially ones that explore the dark side.

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    1. This is definitely the book for you, then!

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  4. I'm always curious about sororities lives, this kind of system does not exist in France at all and it's something that always intrigued me. While it looks like quite a dark take on it all, I'd be curious to read that one :)
    Lovely review, Angela! :)

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    1. Thanks, Marie! I hope you enjoy it if you do get a chance to read it!

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  5. Sorority is one I've been seeing around but because of some really bad hzing stories coming out here, I just avoided it. You're right though -- they're not all the same

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    1. Yeah, it's not a book for everyone, and it does get pretty dark at times.

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  6. I love the sound of the writing, and I like grittiness ;) It also sounds like a really compelling and interesting story.

    Brilliant review :) Also, how awesome you won a Goodreads giveaway!

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    1. Thank you, Amy! Yes, winning is so much fun!

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  7. great review, seen this one around. I kind of figured they will have some of the darker stuff in this book

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    1. Yeah, it definitely had some really dark moments!

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  8. This is the first time that I have heard of this book! I think that the concept sounds interesting. I might give it a try some day when I am in the mood for a darker type of read.

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    1. I hope enjoy it if you give it a try!

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  9. The format has me curious. I like the idea of snapshots. Can I just say, when I read the beginning of the synopsis, I couldn't get Scream Queens out of my head.

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    1. LOL, yes! I thought it might have some dark humor, but no, not really.

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  10. I'm intrigued by the idea of this book, but a little off-put by the fact that it reads more like vignettes. Short story collections don't often work for me.

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    1. Yeah, they don't often work for me, too, but I was interested in the subject matter, so I figured I would give it a try!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!