Book Review: She Drives Me Crazy

Book Review: She Drives Me Crazy

I felt much better about She Drives Me Crazy when I got to the acknowledgements at the end and the author, Kelly Quindlen, said, “I had so much fun writing this goofy, campy, ridiculous book.” Ridiculous is purposefully hyperbolic, but I suddenly understood better what I had read and the levity made me feel more expansive in my role as a reader, made the experience suddenly more enjoyable. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable to begin with, but being given the experience to see the book as a little (or a whole lot) spoofy, referential, and light-hearted was welcome, freeing.

Scottie is playing in her first basketball game against her ex-girlfriend’s new team, still not even over the break-up. Then it doesn’t go so well. And on her way out of the parking lot, she gets in a fender bender with the cheerleader who once played an unforgiveable prank on her. Scottie thinks it couldn’t get any worse until her mom arranges for her to drive the cheerleader to and from school until her car is fixed. But there may be a way they can both get something out of this arrangement-from-h-e-double-matchsticks.

Let me tell you exactly what this book is. It is YA. It is sapphic. It is diverse/BIPOC. It is set in a modern, high school setting. It is a love note to romcoms and other pop culture from the 90s. It is sporty. There is zero subtlety on any of these fronts. (PS. I read it for a YA book club which I then missed thanks to a migraine. Boo.)

From page one, the first scene pulls you right on into an action scene. It is a sports scene which is totally not my thing, but I could still appreciate how engaging it was from the word go, dropping us into an action and sketching us into the main character, the situation, the set-up, the stakes.

She Drives Me Crazy isn’t subtle and nor are its story arcs. If you have ever read or seen a rom-com, especially if you have seen some from the 90s and especially teen rom-coms, you’re not really left hanging. It’s laid out on the cover, for Pete’s sake: it’s an enemies-to-lovers and fake-dating mash-up. Still, it’s made much more approachable to Gen Z with the diversity, political correctness, just all the vibes about it. The 90s is nostalgia, not reality in this book. Which means, considering modern YA, that their maturity is—as I call it—aspirational, not realistic. Along with that nostalgia, the end result was much more cute than it was “hot.” I wasn’t feeling all keyed up, but I was like, “Awww.”

It was less emotionally and romantically charged than I would like, and part of this was because of it’s being too neat and tidy. Especially, and I hate to say this, Scottie’s nuclear family. I mean, I am all for the functional family in literature (sometimes), but supposed perfect families are not great. It leaves us with a climax and conclusion that is much more like therapy fiction—with the parents presenting solutions like a therapist would and the MC chooses the right one, obvi—and I have never yet found one of those books to be satisfying (like, let’s say, Eleanor Oliphant Is Complete Fine). Maybe the book felt too realistic for the goofy genre that it was? It left me hanging, a little, especially emotionally.

The list of movies mentioned:

  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • John Tucker Must Die
  • She’s the Man
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Clueless
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Say Anything
  • Mean Girls (the original)
  • Sixteen Candles

Whatever. It’s cute. If you are looking for this type of book, and if you understand it is meant to play with the tropes of 90s rom-coms and update them for Gen Z, then you are probably going to at least enjoy reading this book. It’s light reading. You might crack a smile. You might even find yourself in it. You might enjoy the references. It’s written well enough that the words get out of the way and you just read the story. Don’t expect too much drama. Expect warm fuzzies.


“If you want them to think you matter, start acting like they should already know that you matter” (p63).

“They think they’re way more progressive than my grandparents, but they’re not. Their definition of success is pretty narrow” (p107).

“Grand gestures don’t mean anything in the place of actual effort. He should have just talked to her. You know, actually communicated instead of performing some fantasy version of love. He just wanted to be all up in his feels” (p168).

“I want to know she understands how it feels to be falling in new love and bleeding from old love at the same time” (p200).

“’I’m holding on to this shred of her, and even though it’s a bad shred, it’s still something. The moment I let that shred go, I’ll have nothing left.’ / Danielle scoots closer. She kicks her sneakers against mine. ‘You’ll have nothing left of her, but you’ll have yourself, Scottie’” (p208).

“If you’re going to heal, you have to stop avoiding the hard shit. Trust that you can handle the bad parts of yourself. Trust that Irene can, too” (p243).

“But from me, you deserve honesty” (p245).

“Because before you can worry about who’s in your passenger seat, you have to learn to drive yourself” (p249).


No movie as of now. It’s new. But a great way to enjoy this book would be to follow it up with a 90s rom-com marathon utilizing the list above.