Author: Courtney Summers
Published: January 5, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
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“You only get to walk variations of the same lines everyone has already drawn for you.”My Thoughts
Courtney Summers, Some Girls Are
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. (Goodreads)
Some girls are conniving, evil little bitches, and Courtney Summers captured that all too well in her Some Girls Are. This book was very difficult to read because it deals with a heavy subject matter: high school bullying. Some Girls Are is basically Mean Girls times 10. The girls, and we can't forget the guys as well, in Hallowell High are brutal and they have no scruples with making others' lives a living hell. And when I say living hell, I mean it. Anna and her crew push Regina down the stairs, freeze her out, and do even worse, unimaginably horrible things to her. You really have to be in the right frame of mind before reading Some Girls Are, and, unfortunately, I just wasn't. This book was a dark, poignant tale of teenage suffering at the hands of bullies, and I struggled reading it because of the unsettling topic.
What really made Some Girls Are stick out as unique is that Regina was just as easy to hate as Anna and her cronies. In fact, it took me most of the book to even feel as much of a shred of sympathy for her. That may sound awful, but Regina was far from a saint. When she was one of the Fearsome Fivesome, she put people through the exact same things that she went through in Some Girls Are. She was just as power hungry as Anna, and she thought she was better than everyone else. Even after her fall from her high status, she still felt superior to others and absolutely refused to apologize to one of her victims. Regina was definitely not innocent. But after awhile, I just wanted her agony to end because no one, not even Regina, deserves to be treated that way.
Some Girls Are was well-written, but I found the high school drama way over the top and unbelievable. High school wasn't fun to attend, but these horror stories seem highly exaggerated and I'm wondering if Summers had some really unusual high school experiences. I went to a school with regular bomb threats, drug canines and police coming in, kids sneaking in knives, and so on, but I never saw anything to this extreme go down. And how could the teachers be that blind? Seriously? Regina says the teachers would rather be blissfully ignorant of what's going on, but I think someone would have to notice pounds of raw meat in a locker. When the gym teacher finally guesses something is up, I almost screamed FINALLY, but she still did nothing. What does it take for these teachers to do their job? Or open their eyes for once? Regina's parents were even worse and completely dismissed all warning signs that Regina is not a happy-go-lucky girl. She barely even eats, she misses so many classes, and her friends and boyfriend are suspiciously absent, but her parents still do almost nothing. And then there were the drunkfests these teenagers would frequently host with music blaring and underage teenagers openly drinking on the front lawn. The neighbors didn't complain? The cops didn't come? It didn't seem realistic to me in the slightest.
The other big issue I had with Some Girls Are is that I needed more character development. Everyone seemed to neatly fit into these stereotypical molds of drunken, high school jock and bitchy, popular girl, but there has to be more layers underneath these facades. There were a few hints at Anna's weaker, insecure side that she hides really well but not much else. I wanted to know why Regina had ever become friends with Anna in the first place. And how? She mentions that Anna wasn't always this way but it's never gone into detail. And how did Anna take charge like this? Then there's this whole side plot with Liz, an old friend of Regina's who was kicked out of the group and treated awfully. Liz pops up frequently and this old conflict is heavily focused on so I figured there would be a big unveiling of the reason behind Anna's decision to freeze out Liz. But it's never revealed. I will never know, and this is beyond frustrating.
As you can probably tell, there's not much of a silver lining in Some Girls Are, but if anything made me happy, it was Michael. There's not a lot of romance in this book, but Michael was the one thing Regina had going for her. Despite her evil ways in the past and the bullying he experienced because of Anna, Regina, and their crew, Michael was willing to give Regina another chance. That is what I call a great guy, and possibly a stupid one. Regina finds a close friend and more in Michael, and Michael finally finds someone to spend time with, completely turning his loner existence upside down. Their relationship developed slowly and Michael was distrustful at the start, making it more believable. But Regina had never really known what it was like to have a real friend until Michael. Well, actually, she might have had that with Liz before she completely ruined it.
Some Girls Are is a painful read and you should really know what you're in for before picking it up. I would not recommend it to a middle schooler, or they'll be deathly afraid of ever entering high school. I still find Courtney Summers to be a wonderful writer, but I definitely enjoyed This Is Not A Test more.