American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

In contrast to her previous book, The Bling Ring—about a group of larcenous L.A. teens—the tech-savvy young women in American Girls aren’t criminals. But they do inhabit a scary world, one in which everyone has a second life on social media that’s full of sexting, cyberbullies, and boys who beg for “nudes.” In urgent prose, Sales introduces her readers to (or reminds them of, depending on their age) the hallmarks of growing up in the Internet era, from slut-shaming to the rise of YouTube stars as role models. The studies Sales cites are illuminating, but she’s most compelling—and frightening—when observing these earnest girls navigating their natural habitats. B+