Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein

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“This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.

Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

Meet the Screen Queens.

Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party. East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends. Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads


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The short version: This is a pretty awesome book.

The whole concept behind ValleyStart was intriguing to me, even though it sounded more like something high school students would be involved in, not recently graduated students who typically have their college/future plans already in motion. Nonetheless, with only a 2% acceptance rate at ValleyStart, the people who show up are the best of the best.

Lucy, Delia and Maddie are all talented in unique ways. Their combination of personalities leads to friction, which gets them started off on the wrong foot. They are each dealing with their own personal dramas and insecurities, and each girl secretly questions if she should even be at ValleyStart at all. Not to mention they all hold their doubts about whether or not their team is even going to survive the next five weeks.

There is a lot on the line for each of them if they win: it could mean Lucy finally getting into Stanford, Maddie being able to make a living to support herself and her brother, and Delia getting a job that pays enough to support her parents’ theater.

As it turns out, there is even more on the line for Lucy, Maddie and Delia as they learn what’s going on behind the scenes at ValleyStart, in respect to Ryan Thompson, one of the founders who is their mentor. I don’t think this part of the plot will be surprising to anyone, but seeing how Lucy, Maddie and Delia navigate the situation was pretty inspiring.

I won’t reveal the outcome but I will say it was a satisfying ending and I was cheering for these characters the whole way.

At first, I wasn’t sure if it was the right book for me. I was about fifty pages in when I almost put the book down. There is a lot of description which is not usually something I’m a fan of; even less so when that description is wedged between moments of action. It’s distracting to say the least. I would say the story really kicked up a notch, at least for me, a little over one hundred pages in. It was definitely worth it, and I’m really glad that I decided to finish it.

Final take: These characters are excellent role models for younger readers and I’m so glad that this book exists.

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