When she was in eighth grade, Helen's best friend Lauren humiliated and betrayed her in order to start high school in the popular group. Helen moved away with her family for three years, but now she's back and she wants revenge.
I started reading this book a little bit on my moral high horse: Revenge is bad, forgiveness is good, and at first that interfered a little with my enjoyment of Lauren Wood. On the other hand, there was that little dark side of me that remembered being bullied in school and appreciated seeing the nasty kid getting her comeuppance, quite safely within the pages of a book.
I wasn't quite convinced by the realism of this book. Firstly I debated whether it was believable for a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old girl to still be obsessing over an event that happened when she was fourteen. And it is obsession - in her three years away from her old school she stalks Lauren through her Facebook (that girl seriously needs to sort out her privacy settings on her profile page!) She is unable to put this event behind her and move on. Then again, she was fourteen, a very vulnerable age at which anything that happens is the most important thing in the world, and Lauren had been her best friend for her whole life up to that point. I know from experience that it is harder to get over trust issues caused by a supposed friend than a known enemy, because you've let that person inside the walls that keep others out, making it a more devastating sabotage to your life.
But we are expected to believe that Helen has changed enough over three years to make her unrecogniseable, by losing some weight, cutting her hair and having a nose job, so that she can call herself by her middle name (Claire) and mother's maiden name. I didn't think so, but was quite willing to suspend my disbelief to watch the drama unfold. The plot was fairly predictable, and although Helen-Claire, the boy she liked, and Brenda, the friendly girl who wasn't part of the in-crowd and therefore had to be befriended in secret, were pretty well realised, Lauren could quite easily be Regina George from Mean Girls and her two closest friends, Bailey and Kyla (why are there always two cheerleader/popular girl minions?) looked in my mind like Brittany and Santana from Glee!
All in all, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was a trashy but enjoyable guilty-pleasure read. And it has a brilliant cover.