Saturday, September 19, 2015


Girl Meets Class
by Karin Gillespie

Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (September 8, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1941962855

The unspooling of Toni Lee Wells’ Tiffany and Wild Turkey lifestyle begins with a trip to the Luckett County Jail drunk tank. An earlier wrist injury sidelined her pro tennis career, and now she’s trading her tennis whites for wild nights roaming the streets of Rose Hill, Georgia.

Her wealthy family finally gets fed up with her shenanigans. They cut off her monthly allowance but also make her a sweetheart deal: Get a job, keep it for a year, and you’ll receive an early inheritance. Act the fool or get fired, and you’ll lose it for good.

Toni Lee signs up for a fast-track Teacher Corps program. She hopes for an easy teaching gig, but what she gets is an assignment to Harriet Hall, a high school that churns out more thugs than scholars.

What’s a spoiled Southern belle to do when confronted with a bunch of street smart students who are determined to make her life as difficult as possible? Luckily, Carl, a handsome colleague, is willing to help her negotiate the rough teaching waters and keep her bed warm at night. But when Toni Lee gets involved with some dark dealings in the school system, she fears she might lose her new beau as well as her inheritance.

Related subjects include: chick lit, women’s fiction, humor, humorous fiction, Southern humor, Southern living, friendship.

I'll be honest. I loved the idea of this book and have heard praise for the author, but it took me a bit to get pulled into the story. Then I was hooked and put off important things to keep on reading.

Although I can not relate to Toni Lee as a wealthy young woman with endless money to spend, she has so many other traits I connected to. More so as she matured and awakened through the book.

Toni Lee and her best friend, Joelle, come from different backgrounds, different family situations. Their friendship was forged at a young age out of necessity, but grew stronger every year.
Toni Lee's life had been focused on becoming a professional tennis player, until an injury put an end to that dream. She lost her sense of self and her motivation to be or do anything of value with her life.
After too many episodes of acting out and needing to be bailed out, her widowed father knows it is time for tough love. Not being that type of parent, he calls in Aunt Cornelia.

Aunt Cornelia is the source of the family wealth. She runs a tight ship and is a strict disciplinarian with high standards. She lays down the law with a detailed contract for Toni Lee.

When Toni Lee looks for a job I laughed out loud at the line: Weren't there any normal jobs in the world? Ones that required only a warm body, an easy smile and a flair for Pinterest?

Toni Lee signs on for a teaching job with no idea how drastically different the school and students will be from her own experience. She believes it will be FUN to go back to school and enjoy pep rallies and proms. She'll be the beloved "cool, hip" teacher.
Rose Hill, Georgia is populated by great extremes of diversity. The tables are turned when Toni Lee becomes the minority and must adjust her mind to how other people live, and how their experiences make them think.
The dialogue is priceless!
"I half expected the GPS Lady to say 'Get out while you're still breathing."
"Keeping order at all times is like putting socks on an octopus."

As Toni Lee is learning about disadvantages, Joelle is finally experiencing more of the privileged life. How people around you want you not to be yourself but to be like them. Values and judgement are severely tested.
Corruption, prejudice, bigotry and violence don't respect financial boundaries. 

Sprinkled throughout the book is marvelous dialogue.
"my father's silence was so loud he might as well be yelling at me."
"I chose wine with funny names; it made alcohol seem tame and friendly."
" cut into a pageboy so sharp-edged it could draw blood."

Will Toni Lee adjust to the "real world?"
Will friendship survive secrets and growing pains?
Will Toni Lee survive Harriett Hall?
How strong and forgiving is love really?

If you like romantic comedy with life lesson worthy drama, read this book!

I was given a copy to review without expectation.

Karin Gillespie is national bestselling author of five novels and a humor columnist for Augusta Magazine. Her nonfiction writing had been in the New York Times, The Writer Magazine and Romantic Times. She maintains a website and blog Sign up for her newsletter on her website, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.

Other books by Karin Gillespie


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