Place(s) Traveled to: Hallowell, Connecticut
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
As an adult its easy to forget just how hard high school can be. In many ways it’s a miracle that any of make it out with our sanity in check. Or maybe we just block out the bad memories as we get older, deciding instead to focus on the good things, that is, when we decide to think about high school at all. Even reading many of the YA books that I do, high school never seems to be the main focus of the story. Yes many of the main characters are in high school but the plot doesn’t always include much in the way of ordinary, every day high school dynamics. This isn’t the case with a book written by Courtney Summers. Summers doesn’t hold back the punches when it comes to the gritty details of what its like to be in high school. Her sophomore book, Some Girls Are, is a perfect example of this. It also shows just how blind adults can be when it comes to every day life in high school. You’d think that having gone through the same or similar experiences when they were young that they’d be on the look out for the bullying and the pranks that the current teens are engaged in. But instead they only seem to focus on those things when they become too huge to ignore.
In Some Girls Are, Regina used to be on top of the social pyramid. She was the right hand and sometimes enforcer of the schools Queen Bee, Anna. Then one day all that gets twisted and turned around when a rumour crops up saying that Regina has slept with Anna’s boyfriend. Rumours are such a powerful and oft times very destructive force in high school. They are the hardest things in the world to fight because they are usually built out of smoke and mirrors. The more a person tries to deny a rumour the more likely people are to believe it. And amazingly enough, when the rumour is also fed and given more credence when the person involved says nothing. Regina is used to being on top though and she’s not going to back down without and fight and what follows through the pages of Some Girls Are are some of the most intense scenes that I’ve read in a long time. Regina is bullied horribly by her former best friends and the others in the popular crowd. She is also ignored, whispered about and generally disliked by the rest of the schools population as they watch with fascination and a little enjoyment at what is happening to their former bully.
Summers doesn’t mince any words, she doesn’t hold back and her book is just filled with raw emotion and realism. The moment you open its pages you are transported into Regina’s world. You feel her initial confusion when the rumours start to spread, her disbelief and then her anger as she gets slammed into lockers and locked in closets. Each turn of the page brings some sort of escalation to the situation and as a reader you wonder how it can ever possibly end. You wonder where the adults are and why they don’t see. But then you remember when you were in high school and how much you were able to get away with. Regina is not a likable character, at least not at first. But you can’t help but feel for her as you read all that happens to her. And there is this one scene, towards then end that literally makes my heart break every time I think about it. (for those interested its that scene on page 213 & 220)
The main plot of Some Girls Are is about bullying but the story is also about more than that. It’s about a person’s image and character and the ability to change who you are if you are only willing to try. It’s about not accepting things that others tell you but fighting what you know and believe to be right. It’s about courage and overcoming difficult situations and its one of the most amazing books that I have read. All of the characters in this books are so real and vivid that you can picture them clearly and you almost have to keep telling yourself that its just a book, a story, a world that someone created. My favourite characters in the book were Michael and Kara. Michael is just this amazing guy that I know will start making people’s literary guys to love lists. He is quiet and intense and his story is another that will break your heart. The same goes for Kara, another of my favourites. She is so vicious, diabolical and insecure that the thought of her causes chills down my spine.
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever gone to high school, especially parents and teachers. It’s a book that will make them remember their bad experiences and hopefully get them to focus a little more on what is really going on in the lives of their children and students. As someone who was bullied in school I know how difficult it can be to talk to adults. The moment you say anything about what is going on you are labeled as a snitch and those kids who weren’t part of the bullying might join in now – to teach you a lesson about ratting out your peers. I wasn’t strong like Regina, I didn’t have the guts to fight back. In Some Girls Are the character that was most like me is Liz. She and I had similar experiences in school and I was able to relate to her a lot. Some Girls Are brought back some tough memories for me, incidences taht I’d thought I’d forgotten but it also showed me just how far I’ve come from those days of being bullied. I’ve said it before but it can’t be said enough Some Girls Are is an important book to read. Courtney Summers is a brilliant writer and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next because her books just keep getting better. Some Girls Are is now available in stores, go pick up your copy today!