Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.
Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.
Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.
I'm beginning to think Courtney Summers is a genius. I read her debut novel, Cracked Up to Be a few months ago, fell deeply in love with it, and have raved about it ever since. So it was with a FANGIRL SQUEAL reverberating deep inside me that I picked up Some Girls Are. And I wasn't disappointed at all. More like shell shocked.
Not only is Some Girls Are well-written, the subject matter just hits the reader hard in the gut. In the space of one night, the main character Regina takes a fall from the school hierarchy and quickly hits rock bottom. She's been wrongfully accused of cheating with her best friend's boyfriend, and Regina's best friend is Anna Morrison: queen bee and meanie* extraordinaire.
The next day, Regina arrives at school to find that she's the target of a freeze-out. Which pretty much means her life is screwed. Or should be. Everyone is shunning her, and her friends go several steps further than that in order to ensure she suffers. But Regina decides that's she's going to do anything she can in order to win. So it happens that Some Girls Are kicks off with some epic backstabbing, lying, and conniving. And that's just the beginning. Vicious Rumors? Check. Violence? Check. Punching, kicking, pushing? Check. A personal campaign to ruin Regina Afton's life? Check. Just about everything short of torture? Check.
What unfolds in the next 200 pages is a disturbing rendering of high school and girl cliques; but the good kind of disturbing, if that even makes sense. What I mean is, reading Some Girls Are is like watching a train wreck--in the sense that the characters are thrown into some pretty awful situations. And as a reader, you just have to sit tight as Regina deals with pretty much every single imaginable thing that comes her way.
Because Some Girls are...mean. Very mean. And Summers bars nothing with this book; she doesn't hold back. I'd say this book is Mean Girls meets Mean Girls again plus ten times more harrowing, and with a punch in the stomach to go along with it. What's most remarkable about this book is that Summers makes every scene not only believable, but real. And I only have to say one thing: I'm glad that I don't go to Regina's high school. Because unlike her, I wouldn't survive a day.
But Regina, she's a whole another story. She's tough, she's strong, and she's one of the best main characters I've read in a while. She puts the simpering, whining, and weak female main characters so pervasive throughout YA to shame. And Regina Afton is an anti-heroine after my own heart. She's not good, she's not perfect, and in fact, she's pretty much despicable. She's just as bad as the girls that are making her life a living hell, and she doesn't trouble to hide it. But as with Cracked Up To Be, Summers manages to create a should-be unlikable character and portray them in such a way that they're completely likable and most of all, authentic: 100% real person and 0% unrealistic character.
Some Girls Are is a bit of a warning, a commentary on the extent to which some girls go in order to maintain their status in a clique. But it also holds a hopeful message: don't give up and don't let anyone treat you like crap.
And after reading this book, it gives me an excuse to declare my love for Courtney Summers. I love her because she's got this amazing writing style that is at once sparse in words but rich in meaning. Because she's got some of the most realistic dialogue I've ever read. Because her books are masterful and powerful and everything that contemporary YA should be.
If you want a great book that'll make you think, and that has a whole lotta cruelty against high school girls, Some Girls Are is your best bet.
My Rating: I give it a 9.25/10. Which means you need to get your hands on Some Girls Are pronto.
*Okay, a certain b-word would be ideal summation here. BUT THE CHILDREN! So, I'm keeping my language clean :)
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