Friday, December 06, 2013

Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

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Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney SummersSome Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 5th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Buy on 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.

If you would ask me point blank if I enjoyed reading this novel, my answer would be no. Because can you really enjoy something that hurts so much? Can you find delight in something that pisses you off so much? Now, if you asked me if this novel is one that needs to be read? Not only is that answers yes, but I would also add that this is a story that I’m thoroughly thankful for. It shines the most brutal light on bullying, not giving us a choice to look at it first hand. To experience the pain, the remorse, the emptiness that our protagonist feels. And Courtney does this in a way that ambushes you, with a narrator who was once a bully herself; a girl who has done to others what is now being done to her, yet you find it in yourself to forgive her no matter how much you thought you would never want to.

Regina was a bully – before she was the bullied. She once tortured a girl to the point of making her suicidal. She did terrible, revolting things. I completely hated her for who she used to be. Yes, I hated our protagonist from the very start, and you likely will too, at first. When a rumor makes her the school pariah, I wasn’t sad to see her finally taken down a notch. She reminded me of some of the bullies at my high school, and I would lie if I said I’d feel sorry if they had gotten a taste of their own medicine. But then… I didn’t feel that way anymore. If anything, I felt empty. I just wanted it all to stop. Getting humiliated is one thing, but what Regina goes through in this novel is not anything anyone deserves. I only wanted her to get a freaking break. Then, I became angry. Angry in a way that made me see red. So much so that Regina’s small victories against her own bullies became major sources of pleasure. What this says about me, I’m afraid to know, but nothing made me happier than to see her slap the bitch! This drive to do something is a big part of what I loved about this novel; even though there were often better solutions, Regina doesn’t just sit there and take it.

In the end, yes I forgave her. I think she fully deserves the guilt that she will forever have to live with, but I also believe she’s now a better person. She grew from this experience and learned from it a great deal. Still, forgiving her was not easy for me, but Courtney has a way of making you feel… completely at a loss for this person who’s so strong that you want to cry and collapse for them while they’re somehow staying upright under this cruelty. Then, after all of that pain, after each page that amplifies this overpowering need to see justice… it just ends. IT ENDS! RAAAAAAWR! *takes my rage out on various household objects.*

Oh Courtney Summers, you love making a mess out of me AND my house!

*Goes off to meditate*


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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23 Responses to “Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Yow! I don’t really know what to say here. I want to read the book and yet I don’t want it within 300 feet of me. It definitely sounds like one we need to get for our high school library, no matter how I feel about it, though!

  2. S.Huston

    *Adds to TBR pile immediately* Wowzers! From both the synopsis and your review I know I must read this and SOON! I think it will be a good book to have around for my someday teenage daughter(she’s only two now). Bullying is such an epidemic, I don’t understand why people need to be so mean to each other. Thanks for taking the time to read and review it and bringing it to my attention!

  3. Pili

    Wow, now I know I need to read this book, even if it’s gonna be one tough emotional journey for sure! Thanks for your very honest and as usual great review Giselle! *adds books to TBR and checks if it’s available for preorder*

  4. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the one Courtney Summers’ novel I have read (This Is Not A Test) I’ve been curious about some of her other work, particularly Some Girls Are, as they seem to be quite popular amongst book bloggers! That said, I do read primarily for pleasure, and the fact that most don’t seem to actively enjoy reading Summers’ work puts me off a little. As important as the subject matter and message might be, her rather bleak perspective is something that I didn’t enjoy in This Is Not A Test and this seems to be a common thread throughout all of her work. I’ll be adding this one to my to-be-read list, but I don’t see myself making it an active priority, as you really have to be in the right mood for that type of psychological torment 😉

  5. Soma Rostam

    Well, I am a huge fan of courtney summers
    i have read two of her books and they are great, not perfect, but really touchy and they make you FEEL
    It’s been a while since i have come online and seeing your review makes me happy,, Giselle
    I missed your ravings 😛
    Your reader,

  6. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    I have had this book for a while but think I have avoided it just for this reasons. It looks really intense and gut wrenching and hard to read. But I have only heard good things about it so I definitely plan on reading it sometime soon. Thanks for the review!

  7. Melliane

    wow it sounds really intense. I confess the topic is really intriguing and I already have a lot of feelings only by reading your reviews so I can’t even know how is would be with the book itself.

  8. Carmen B.

    I read this one last summer and I had very similar feelings. I found it hard to empathize with Regina at first because I’ve been bullied before… but at the same time, that made it so much easier for me to feel her pain. And what is done to her and the rumors that are then spread… no one deserves that. I cheered for her on her way to revenge. And I wanted to slap the bitch myself 😛
    Definitely a book to shake you up and make you hurt/cry!

  9. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I’ve heard nothing but fantastic reviews for this book. I feel like it’s a perfect book for any teen because bullying is a more and more pressing issue, and getting to see it from someone’s else’s perspective always is helpful. I love how you could really feel the injustice that was given to Regina. That last paragraph definitely has intrigued me for what the book’s about and this one definitely looks like a really feelsy one.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  10. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    You have made me need this book!! I will definitely have to get this and read it at some point. I have heard nothing but awesome things about this author. I have This Is Not A Test, but haven’t read it yet. I think I need to read all of her books ASAP!!

  11. Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

    Yes! The only way to express my feelings about this book is to rage! I hated reading it because it’s pure pain and frustration, but it needs to be read. I’ve passed this one along to many friends and they all have the same reaction and then we rant and race about the unfairness of it all. I’ve really got to read more books by Courtney Summers. So far I’ve only read this and This Is Not A Test. Both have been absolutely incredible though.

  12. Chel

    Uh-oh. This sounds like the type of book that’s going to test my patience. Bullies are annoying and I feel like I’d only be annoyed or angry at the characters most of the time. But still, I’ve read books like this with bullies turned bullied before and I love the feeling of satisfaction I get at the end when the everything goes well for the characters.

  13. Sydney

    This sounds like a book I want to read, but also sounds like a book I never want to touch. I’m afraid I would just be too annoyed/angry at the protagonist to get past the beginning of the novel, and even if I did it’ll be an emotional overload… Wonderful review. I might just add it.

  14. Michelle

    Ohh this is one of my favorite books ever!! I read in one day and stayed up all night just to finish it. It was so addicting I couldn’t stop reading it! This is the book that made me love Courtney Summers and since then I’ve loved all her other books too! I’m glad you liked it (or not liked it, but found it important?). Great review!