Book Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

6624871Title: Some Girls Are
Series: Standalone
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
How I got it: I bought it
Click here to buy this book from Amazon!

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.

Some Girls Are holds the official title of The Only Book That Almost Gave Me Heartburn.

I remember reading this novel for this first time and thinking, ‘holy mother, this is SO not what I signed up for’. And I couldn’t put it down either. Some Girls Are is the rare kind of book that would clamp down on you, hard, and would leave you with no choice but to turn page after painful page.

The story revolves around Regina Afton, best friend to the Queen Bee and Popular Girl Extraordinaire, until one day she was accused of doing the unthinkable: betraying her clique by sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. It doesn’t matter that it’s not what really happened, because Regina’s former friends refuse to believe her, and all they care about now is devising her complete and utter destruction. Regina is about to get a dose of the very medicine she used to dole out, and more people thinks she deserves it than not.

I guess it’s safe to say that Some Girls Are is a novel that’s not for the faint of heart. It is a vicious, cruel, at times even disgusting story of a popular girl’s fall from grace to the desolate land of rock bottom. I won’t lie, folks. There is something sadistically satisfying about witnessing a former bully getting bitchslapped by no other than karma itself, but here comes Courtney Summers waving her magic pen and managing to make me feel conflicted about Regina’s plight, obvious as it was that she was no saintly incarnate.

Here’s the thing: Regina? I hate her. She would do anything to remain popular, even obliterating her individuality just to fit in. I couldn’t stand that side of her and it made me angry, but when she started getting bullied, harassed in ways that made me want to throw up just thinking about it, I was surprised to find out that I wanted her saved. I wanted to rush in and pick her up and throw her on the back of my magic unicorn and gallop away to happy land; I wanted to push Anna and Co. from a cliff and watch their bodies go splat. I wanted to deck Josh and Donnie and basically inflict bodily harm on anyone who dared to hurt this girl, even if at some point she was no different from the ones who were bullying her now. Because, hey! Here’s a simple fact: Nobody deserves to be bullied. Not even the meanest kid on the block or the bitchiest bitch in town. Bullying is a terrible, terrifying experience, and I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemies.

Awful as the core subject of this story was, I have to emphasize that I love this book. Courtney Summers does the bad girl thing so well, and the character arc of Regina Afton was superbly done. I love how she didn’t change at all; she didn’t become a saint or an entirely new person just because she knows how it feels now to be hunted down and made to feel miserable. No. Courtney Summers made sure that the awareness of how much her past actions weighed crept slowly on Regina, and she wasn’t given a free pass just because she’s the victim now. The ‘good’ characters were sceptical about her; they didn’t throw her a ‘Welcome to the good side, Regina!’ party. They were wary of her, and she had to work hard for their forgiveness and acceptance.

To be blatantly honest, this story left a bad taste in my mouth. It was appalling to read about something so horrible, helplessly watching events unfold and incapable of doing anything to change them. Every time there’s a lull in the harassment, I keep holding my breath and expecting an ambush at every corner. I keep hoping for things to get better for Regina, but I know it can only get worse, and that’s a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach that didn’t go away until I finished reading. But you know why I still love this book despite that? It’s because this story, unpleasant as it is, shows us that nothing is truly black and white. There’s always the flip side of the coin, the circumstance that puts a spin on everything you believe to be solid and concrete.

Some Girls Are is not a story of a nice girl. It’s a story of a girl who made a mistake and who is now paying for it with the highest imaginable price; her principles, her dignity, her worth as a human being. This is the reason why I love Courtney Summers as an author: she’s not afraid to paint her characters in unflattering lights, show her readers their humanity and ultimately convinces them that second chances are not dealt to good people alone and that justice and compassion is supposed to be impartial. I recently re-read this book, wanting to see if my reaction to it would change after a year. It didn’t. If anything, I think it was stronger. It’s sad to think that not many people know about this novel and that Summers remain to be an underrated author. Her works are truly brilliant and her fearless portrayal of imperfect characters are more spot on than anything I’ve read before. I highly recommend this book to all of you, and I give it a well-deserved rating of five coconuts.



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