how to build a girl


Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

So here we are, the end of the book!

smile face

  • Rob talks about how all Goth chicks “have a bit of chubble” – what a massive asshole.
  • Johanna plays her father’s horrible music tape for her co-workers, and then tosses it.
  • Johanna decides to do speed.
  • The whole giant catastrophe of Tony Rich… I can’t even. I just can’t.
  • Johanna has a fantastic night with John Kite, passes out, gets upset, then starts cutting herself.
  • I enjoy that she decides to learn some NWA lyrics so she has an excuse for the scars, later on.
  • Johanna states that she is now for things – not against them.” Dude… you can be both. You have to be both.
  • The family’s benefits were cut because Johanna got a job. CALLED IT. And I guess she had been helping out with bills and such, so that’s good.
  • Johanna is moving, Krissi is coming with her (“To make sure you’re okay, and you don’t accidentally write your shopping list on your arm with an ax.”), and she still feels like she has to get her dad famous.

Overall… I don’t know how I feel about this book. I really, really loved the first 2/3 or so, and then my enjoyment kind of decreased from there. I’m kind of bummed that there was no real conflict with her dad, and that there was no big revelation about Krissi being gay. I really ended up liking Krissi the best out of anyone, because it turns out he’s smart and kind of hilarious. I’m curious to see what another Moran novel would be like… one that would be not so closely related to her own life.

I’ll probably sum up my final feels in a non-spoiler-y review later on.

Thanks again to Emily for hosting, and to HarperCollins for making the readalong possible!! And of course to all of the other bloggers participating. You guys make readalong-ing the best.

bye gif




  1. Yep, I’m with you. I really enjoyed the first 3 parts of the readalong, but from part 4 onwards I started getting impatient and ended up whizzing through to the end in one go – which means I now have to look over my notes to remember what I wanted to say about the last part. But I’d definitely like to read a less autobiographical novel if Moran writes one as she’s such a funny and thought-provoking writer. (I still wouldn’t call myself an actual fan of her though.)


    1. “But I’d definitely like to read a less autobiographical novel if Moran writes one as she’s such a funny and thought-provoking writer. (I still wouldn’t call myself an actual fan of her though.)”

      Same here. I feel like she’s one of the authors that I will keep trying to read because everyone adores her, and while I see her potential… I also usually run into things I don’t like as well.


  2. I ended up liking some parts more than others, but enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I liked Krissi the most, too, and I’m with you in the disappointment over the lack of a reveal.


  3. I agree that the final part seemed a bit rushed – the cutting, the lack of ‘reveal’ with Krissi’s homosexuality, just the sudden move out to London. But overall I thought this was a great read – perhaps because I’ve read nothing else by her. I’ll let you know if I feel the same after I read ‘How to Be a Woman’ 🙂


  4. I’m with you. There was much to like, but also much to be impatient about. I felt like this section was really rushed and left out much that I’d like to see–Krissi’s sexuality (how can Johanna not see this?), and I didn’t for a second believe her dad wouldn’t have hounded her about the demo.


    1. Her dad TOTALLY would have hounded her. And I’m disappointed that even after everything, the book ends on the note that she still has to get her dad famous, somehow. I am kind of disappointed in the lack of conflict over this… SO much time was spent in the beginning about her dads delusions and it feels kind of off that it never really became a bigger plot point.


      1. Yes to the yes with Rea that I would’ve gladly read another five chapters to flesh out all the things.


  5. Krissi is DEF the best character. Well, Kite is up there since he turned out to be not a creepy perv.

    I liked Johanna’s bit about now being FOR things. It doesn’t mean she’s for all the things, just that when she writes her reviews she can focus on just writing about the ones she likes. As long as she’s not just saying “I LIKE ALL OF THESE BANDS. ALL OF THEM.” that’s fine. I mean sure, branching out and doing a bit of both would be good although being perhaps less of a dick than she was before.


  6. Well, I found myself loving it all the way up to the ending. Maybe because I had no expectations at all going into this readalong, other than to be entertained? So the inconsistencies in verb tense, and the overblown-ness of teenagerness and everything else just seemed secondary to the story, which I found overall to be far more substantive than I thought it would be.

    but yeah, you made me like Krissi all over again by quoting that shopping list/axe bit. let’s hope he features more in the sequel!


  7. I hate myself for even saying this, but…do you think it felt like she was saving something for a sequel? Because she very clearly did not wrap everything up. And perhaps that was on purpose.


      1. Oh my god, yes. Best sequel idea ever! (Did I read somewhere it’s going to be a trilogy, or did I just make that up? I feel like I made it up…)


  8. You definitely do have to be both for things and against things because oh my god, you can’t like everything, but you can definitely accentuate the things you like, and not constantly go one about the things you don’t, which I think is really the point? I totally get the being cynical thing, and I also get how freaking boring and frustrating it becomes, so I definitely go more for the being for things rather than against them… if that makes any sense?!


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