Girls in Trucks Review
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Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, Sarah Walters was raised by the Camellias—the women in her mother’s exclusive Southern society. From birth, Sarah was taught to be a Proper Southern Lady—a woman of grace and charm and manners. But she and her young Camellia friends—Bitsy, Charlotte, and Annie—were more interested in ditching their fancy teas and cotillion classes to sneak off with their low-class, pickup-truck-driving boyfriends.

Torn between her dependence on her mother and the Camellias and her need to break free from their grip, Sarah decides to follow in the footsteps of her pretty, popular older sister, Eloise, by moving Up North. But as soon as she leaves the comfort of Charleston and guidance of the Camellias, she finds herself—and her other Camellia friends—making one bad decision after another.

Sometimes touching, sometimes amusing, and sometimes heart-breaking, Girls in Trucks is the story of a young Southern girl who does everything she can to run away from her formal Southern upbringing—only to find that she’s eternally tied to it.

Newcomer Crouch writes the story in a unique voice—one that seems to change along with her main character. In fact, the book almost feels more like a collection of essays—told in different voices and from different points of view—than a novel that focuses on just one character. The author allows her defiant, headstrong character to tell her own story, picking and choosing as she goes—even if it means leaving out details and skipping several years of the story. While it’s an artistic method of storytelling, though, it also makes the story difficult to follow at times—and it makes Sarah a bit difficult to grasp.

Ultimately, Girls in Trucks is a story about Sarah’s attempt to find herself—and her constant quest for love—yet it’s anything but fluffy and romantic. Instead of coming off as naïvely optimistic, it’s smart and straightforward—and it’s often painfully and brutally honest. For that reason, it’s not a quick, light read. In fact, it sometimes feels a bit heavy and even somewhat bleak—but that’s what makes it feel real. It’s a book that you’ll need to digest slowly and thoughtfully—and sometimes you’ll find that you need to take a break and set it aside for a while.

Girls in Trucks isn’t a warm, fuzzy work of chick lit—so its conclusion isn’t neat or predictable. It won’t give you a real feeling of closure. In fact, Crouch’s main character is well aware that it’s not the end of her story—that it’s probably not her happily-ever-after. But, in the end, even Sarah’s mother learns a thing or two.

Thoughtful and honest and often challenging, Girls in Trucks definitely isn’t a light read—and it’s not always easy to follow—but it’s an impressive first novel from a talented author.

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