Jaime Reviews ~ Winning by Lara Zeises Deloza

By Lara Zeises Deloza
Published on June 28, 2016
Published by: Harper Teen
Source: Edelweiss/Around the World ARC Tours
House of Cards meets Election in this wickedly entertaining story about an uber-ambitious high school junior.

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?


  This book was not my favorite. I do not like writing negative reviews in the least, and for the most part, I don't have to. I am particularly easy to please, for the most part. But this book drove me beyond crazy. 

 Alexandra is THE queen bee. She has made sure to put herself in that position, and she will do anything to keep it that way. It is almost time for Homecoming, and this is her final victory in high school; to be crowned Homecoming Queen. But when new girl Erin shows up, and within a few days gets nominated for the homecoming court ballot, it means war. Alexandra will pull out all of the stops to have her crown, and she doesn't care who she has to hurt along the way. Thankfully, she has her best friend Sam to do the dirty work with her. Most of the dirty work, actually. Alexandra is the brains and cunning, and Sam will do anything for her. 

 Enter Ivy. She is the school pariah after having a breakdown a few years ago at school. Since she has returned, no one looks at her, much less speaks to her. When she finds out her name is on the homecoming ballot, she thinks it is just a cruel joke. But Alexandra, the queen bee of the school, starts talking to her and decides to drop out of the race to support her, Ivy thinks her luck is changing. And realizes that living in the shadows might not be what she wants after all.

 Winning gets downright devious with some of the schemes that Alexandra pulls off. It definitely has a Mean Girls vibe going on. But here is my problem.... In Mean Girls, there was an underscore of good mixed in. With Winning, even the girls who are being treated badly by Alexandra do some pretty horrible things themselves. I appreciate that they all bonded together in the end, and stopped letting Alexandra control them, but there final payback was just as horrible as some of the things that were done to them. I am all about revenge books, but there is definitely a point where things can be taken too far. There were many other things that they could have done to take Lexi down, but the thing they chose to do was taking things too far. I stopped rooting for them after this, and finished this book feeling a lot let down.

 On a positive note, I very much enjoyed the writing of L.Z.D. It flows well, and she has the high school setting down pat. She also knows how to characterize, and get a reader interested in the lives of the characters. I just wish that the wronged could have stuck to higher ground.

 Would I recommend this book? Yes, sure. I think more people will enjoy the book than not. It just didn't work out all that well for me. But give it a chance if it interests you. Don't let my review hold you back!

Jaime Lynn

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