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Frat Girl

Review

Frat Girl

“A female freshman pledges a fraternity.” The story sounds ridiculous, yet author Kiley Roache makes the scenario seem realistic in FRAT GIRL. When main character Cassandra Davis receives a scholarship from Warren University to research the culture inside of a frat house, she goes undercover to investigate Delta Tau Chi. As Cassie rushes the oldest boys’ club on campus, the 18-year-old reveals the conflicts and camaraderie of Greek Life.

Greek Life attracts many students at Warren University, an elite progressive college where the intriguing story unfolds. Located in Silicon Valley, the fictional school could be compared to Stanford. Students study in a “high-stress environment…with the Californian desire to seem chill.” This sometimes leads to “Duck Syndrome” in which students appear calm on the surface “but are paddling for their lives underneath.” Readers will appreciate the witty commentary on coping in college.

"I found Kiley Roache’s first novel to be compelling, creative and cleverly written. As a senior heading off to college, I could relate to the serious topics as well as find humor in the colorful characters."

Cassie Davis is coping with keeping her mission a secret: one year of investigative journalism in a frat in exchange for free tuition. Selected from thousands of applicants for her original research project to take down Delta Tau Chi (DTC) --- the chapter on probation for alleged misogynistic behavior --- the freshman finds herself falling for a DTC pledge. Moreover, she develops a bond with a brotherhood she set out to destroy. Cassie, the heroine of the book, is strong yet sensitive, daring yet delicate, intelligent yet innocent. She is also a feminist now living in a frat house.

Cassie comes to Warren University to pursue feminist and gender studies. In fact, her faculty advisor, Dr. Eva Price, is one of the top women’s studies professors in the world. Price has met Malala, spoken with Mandela, and protested during Roe v. Wade. This aspect of the novel explores relevant topics such as the treatment of women in different societies. Author Kiley Roache impressively presents important issues by weaving highlights of Cassie’s academic program with what is happening in the fraternity.

Inside of the house with the large Greek letters, large white columns and big balcony, alcohol flows, profanity echoes and girls loiter. DTC is at the center of the social scene on campus, and their parties are popular. Music blares and sorority guests (nicknamed “sorostitutes”) stop by. Of course, students “drink, drink, drink.” Intense drinking is also part of pledging, as well as crawling half naked around campus. Cassie, whose pledge name is Title IX, bravely survives these rituals. The book’s bold details give readers a harrowing look at hazing within a fraternity.

Though controversy surrounds the DTC fraternity, Cassie begins to see some “good” in the organization. She begins a romance with the gorgeous Jordan Louis, she develops a friendship with the athletic Duncan Morris and she finds a big brother in the charismatic Peter Ford. After Peter, the chapter president, and three other frat brothers pick up a distraught Cassie from another frat in the middle of the night, she reflects, “I wonder if this is what it’s like to have biological brothers. My heart is full, and for the first time…I feel like I’m home.”

How can Cassie possibly deceive her new family? Can her research project really change Greek Life or society? FRAT GIRL is a telling tale of feminism, fraternities and freshman year. I found Kiley Roache’s first novel to be compelling, creative and cleverly written. As a senior heading off to college, I could relate to the serious topics as well as find humor in the colorful characters. Kiley Roache is not much older than I am, and I am truly inspired by her early success. I can’t wait to read her next book!

Reviewed by Juliette G., Teen Board Member on April 9, 2018

Frat Girl
by Kiley Roache