Review: The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan

October 23, 2018

"An intriguing look at feminism in American culture and the price we pay for our reputations."

Title: The Accidental Bad Girl
Author: Maxine Kaplan
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 


Kendall used to be a good girl.

That was before the entire senior class discovered her hooking up with her best friend’s ex. And before became an instant pariah, and vowed to keep her head down until she escaped her small Brooklyn private school for good.

But no such luck: She discovers her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing a drug dealer’s stash. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to pretend to a be the bad girl everyone thinks she is. And the longer she plays the role of bad girl, the more it seems to fit.

Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.

The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan is an entertaining, action packed YA contemporary that has a lot to say. After reading the blurb and the first few pages of the story, I thought I knew the type of book it was going to be and the direction it was going to take, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Maxine isn't your stereotypical "bad girl," and the focus of this novel is much more than "mean girls" and bullying. It brings up a variety of serious topics relevant not just to the young adult audience of the book but to society in general. 

Don't worry though, there isn't a heavy or melancholy feel throughout the novel. The characters provide lots of entertainment, laughs, and heartwarming moments that make the story feel lighter than it might have otherwise. At times, this book actually seems  a bit over the top and unrealistic, but that contributes to the milder atmosphere of the novel as well. Before going in, you need to be prepared to suspend disbelief, but if you can, there is a lot to appreciate about this story. 

Kendall is a part of the popular crowd at  school until she's discovered by her classmates in a compromising position with her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Cue the mean girl behavior and slut shaming from friend and company, but that's not all! Kendall's Facebook has been hacked. 

Her mysterious hacker manages to get her into some hot water with a local drug dealer. Someone stole some of their product, and now that the finger has been pointed in Kendall's direction, she's being blackmailed into working for him by helping to find out who the actual thief is and delivering his product. It doesn't take long for things to spiral out of control, or for Kendall to find out she's in much more danger than she ever realized.

The constant action and mystery involved in the story sucked me in, intrigued me, and had me questioning everything until the very end. The uncertainty of not just the situation but the characters themselves kept me flipping the pages long after I should have gone to bed. The ending was wild! I don't see how anyone could put the book down after a certain point. My curiousity would never allow me to leave myself hanging like that. Lol 

Who hacked Kendall's Facebook? Is that who stole the drugs in the first place? What kind of drug is she actually delivering anyway? Is everyone really who they say they are? Who can she trust? Can she trust anyone?

The Accidental Bad Girl tackles slut shaming, gender double standards/sexism, sexual assault, rape culture, bullying, friendship, drug abuse, and self acceptance. It does it in a manner that doesn't weigh you down, but the author doesn't shy away from getting serious when the story requires it. 

The only place I was disappointed was in the romance department. I wasn't thrilled with the way that aspect of the story went, but I admit that I see how it makes sense for the book. Some people might actually find it refreshing! 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read that was easy to get into. I admire the way the author was able to put so many great messages into one book. It's a lot to try to juggle, and I think that she did a pretty good job of it for a debut author. I'll definitely check out more of her work in the future. 

YA fans, I recommend this one to you! 

About the Author 

Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her lovely husband and complex cat. THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is her debut novel. 

Follow Maxine on Twitter @MaxineGKaplan 

1 comment

  1. Excellent review jessica!!! Loved it !!💖😉
    Shared on all my socials!!💖😉