“Tact is not saying true stuff. I’ll pass.” Cordelia Chase Buffy
the Vampire Slayer
I have to admit. I have a fascination with mean girls. From flinching as
they dish out their viciousness, applauding and/or covering my face during
their inevitable fall or black moment, to cheering on the moment they
finally get the redemption they never knew they wanted. Preferably all
wrapped up nicely in a two-hour movie arc.
This interest probably first started back with the first queen of mean (at
least, for me, because she was the first one who I hated): Miss Nellie
Oleson. That’s right. The nasty little piece of work who made it her mission
to put poor Laura Ingalls in her place. Even—gasp—trying to steal Almanzo
away. But in the end, you know, she turned out okay. Even had sweet babies,
married her nerdy Percival, and finally came clean with Laura. Maybe Nellie
wasn’t so bad after all. I mean, you could almost understand how she turned
out like she did having Mrs. Oleson as her mother, right?
My fascination with mean girls didn’t end there, as more shows came on the
scene with each girl meaner and haughtier than the one before. A few that
stand out are Veronica (Winona Ryder) in Heathers, Courtney
(Rose McGowan) in Jawbreaker, Regina George (Rachel McAdams)
in—what else?—Mean Girls, and my personal favorite…the ballsy
but beautiful Ms. Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. For me, it was absolutely riveting to watch over the space of two
hours (or three seasons) the character arcs for these bad girls.
Two books also stand out in my mind that tackled the Mean Girl brilliantly.
The first and probably one of my all time favorites, is Susan Elizabeth
Phillips’s Sugar Beth Carey in AIN'T SHE SWEET. Man, that girl was a piece of
work growing up, but as Ms. Phillips showed us so convincingly, this girl
had problems growing up. Problems that helped us understand where Sugar Beth
was coming from, even if we didn’t agree with her choices.
The other favorite mean girl from books is Emily Giffin’s Darcy from SOMETHING
BLUE. Ms. Giffins really had her work cut out for her there, having
drawn Darcy as so horrible and selfish in SOMETHING
BORROWED. So it was very interesting to see her dig Darcy out of that
hole of nastiness in the second book, which I think she did amazingly well.
It’s actually my favorite of her two books.
So it was inevitable that at some point I was going to tackle writing about
the Mean Girl in one of my own stories. A challenge admittedly, but
something that I really wanted to take on. To be honest, when I first
started writing You Again, Book One in my romantic suspense series, I wrote
about Meredith Sanders without any initial intention of ever giving her her
own story. She was just the nasty mean girl to my main character, Allie. But
somewhere in the second or third revision, I got to to wondering about
Meredith. Why was she so nasty to Allie and everyone? What made her turn out
But I still wasn’t convinced I was ready to write a mean girl story until I
was trying to write the second in the series starring a different heroine.
Only I couldn’t get Meredith’s voice out of my head. So she won. And that’s
how Love You Madly came to be. Of course, I had to find the perfect hero for
this bad girl, and who better than one of the victims of her high school
bullying, Travis Brennan, the computer geek who turned, um, Rambo chic (like
what I did there?). Sarcastic and funny with a big heart, Travis was the
perfect foil for Meredith’s antics. The ideal man to help Meredith realize
she wanted to be a better person, and who actually believe she could do it.
With a few well deserved karma moments along the way, of course.
Are there any mean girls who come to mind that I haven’t mentioned above?
Any you’d care to share in the comments? And if I haven’t mentioned it,
thanks so much for stopping by!
*I would like to clarify that I only love the mean girls in the context of
fiction. In real life…not so fun.
Ashlee was thirteen when she discovered her first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss book
hidden away in her mom's closet. After two days of staying home "sick" from
school to finish it, she was hooked. Her rabid love for romance has
continued ever since, and after a misadventure in the world of law, she
finally settled into her dream job of writing about people finding their
happily ever afters--the only stories worth reading, after all.
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Meredith Sanders was the golden girl in high school—a homecoming queen with
a trail of worshipping minions. Now she's all grown up with a trail of
failed marriages. The only good thing she has in her life is her brilliant
and beautiful teenaged step-daughter...who's missing. But the best man for
the job has a serious hate-on for her.
Back in high school, queen bee Meredith made Travis Brennan's life
miserable. Since then, he's gone from class geek to a hardened, former SEAL,
specializing in private security. As much as he wants to help Meredith's
step-daughter, he can't help but clash with the gorgeous woman who once made
his life hell.
But as they investigate the increasingly mysterious disappearance, their
conflicted past threatens to turn into a very provocative present...
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