Published by Macmillan on 2010-01-05
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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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
After devouring This Is Not a Test, I decided to snag more books by Summers. Some Girls Are was a previous release that caught my attention, since bullying-related contemporaries tend to make it onto my “buy me” shelf.
After reading a fair amount of books that centers on this topic, I thought that Some Girls Are would come across as another emotional yet touching novel about the struggles of high school and the social jungle that teens now travel through on the road to adulthood. After books such as Speak and A Thousand Words, I was 100% positive that I was ready to tackle any bullying book.
The characters. Wow. This is a pretty messed up group of people. Don’t expect to fall in love with anyone (Well, Michael is very sweet, even with his own set of issues). I tend to view horrible characters with negativity, but for this story, it works to the advantage of the plot. A majority of the supporting cast of girls and guys will cause you to root for the destruction of both sides. To borrow a phrase used by my sister, when she was describing Breaking Bad, this book is filled with “horrible people doing horrible things to one another.” I loathed the people in this book. I loved that I loathed them. High School Lyn would have hated their guts. There is no love here, only hate. So much hate. Scrap that, there is no love here, except for the true horror of a bully book that paints a terrifyingly real inside look to a hive mentality.
So, I have established that the characters are just downright nasty and horrible. This isn’t story you read to enjoy or to glurg yourself on happy hormones, you read this book as if it was the horrible wreck in the rain on the side of the road on your way to work. Hot mess doesn’t even start to touch this novel. There isn’t any sweet, sappy morals learned at the end, or touching, tear-jerking confessions and promises that everyone will become a better person. Nothing here like that. I was honestly shocked to confess that I loved this novel.
I usually run away from such plots as this one. It was like Mean Girls with a heaping side order of brutality. However, this book should be read by teens, parents, girls, boys – you name it.
Why did this novel make such an impact? Because I believe we need this type of diversity in our novels. Not every bullying story has a sweet ending. Not all victims take the higher road in the battle. Girls such as this group do exist, and producing ONLY light, fluffy bully-related books gives a skewed view on a real issue. I love my bully-turns-to-friendship books, they’re awesome. One such book actually warmed me up to contemporaries. But is it realistic to present only that side? This book was not only a horribly entertaining ride, but it was highly educational towards the secret popularity battle inside the predatory cliques of the queen bees.
The best way to solve this ongoing crisis in our schools is to put aside the old notions about bullies and stop pretending that it is only a cry for help or an ugly case of jealousy. To some people, this behavior is almost as natural as breathing. Let’s take off the kid gloves here and take an honest look at the situation.
If I had to pick the issue that bothered me the most regarding the novel was the treatment of rape. I respected the fact that the author wrote the approach of rape by young females, which boils down to, “It is a lie.”
That is a hard pill to swallow, but it is sadly honest. However, I am appalled that the MC didn’t say anything when the same person attempted rape twice, resulting in the same silent treatment of the issue. There is no learning or personal enlitenment in this novel, but I just found it outrageous that something didn’t clue Regina in to do something the second time around.
If you are looking for an example novel centered on revenge, then this pick Is good. I think it is fair to warn potential readers that there are some horrible, difficult scenes to digest. There is physical assault, slut-shaming, and a victim blaming. Such things should not happen in real life, but they do. I do wish that there would have been some legal closure in the novel, but gritty book is gritty, and with high statistics regarding unreported assaults, this is closer to reality than it should be. However, the insight on the different forms of bullying and the cover-up by staffing and students close to the events is eye-opening and highly educational.