Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Regina Afton was part of the Fearsome Fivesome until one of them told a lie that got her frozen out. Now she is on the receiving end of bullying she used to dish out. With no one left to turn to, Regina finds an unlikely ally in Michael Hayden, a misfit she helped to break.

It’s credit to Author Courtney Summers immense talent that we are actually able to sympathize with Regina’s plight despite her being extremely unlikeable and for the most part unrepentant for the damage she caused (and continues to cause) her own victims. This is a compelling character study of a girl everybody loves to hate who actually deserves it, and Summers holds nothing back. What Anna and Kara do to her is atrocious, but what she does back to them is no less so and the cycle of violence continues. It actually made me think about what goes on between Israelis and Palestinians, with Hutus and Tutsis and with other groups of sworn enemies day after day. How hard it is to forgive. And how hard it is to be the wronged party but to look for a peaceful solution instead of taking an eye for an eye.

At the heart of the novel though is Regina’s complicated relationship with Michael and the lengths she will go to in order to protect him once she gets to know him. He’s her path to redemption, but he’s not going to make it easy for her, and neither are her former friends.

No one is going to tell you this is a “fun” way to spend your reading hours, but it is a rewarding way: the novel is involving, moving and yes, gut-wrenching. And Summers has trimmed any trace of fat, resulting in a tight narrative that clips along at a pace that keeps you glued to the page despite the unpleasantness. I read it one sitting.

SOME GIRLS ARE is available in paperback now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

27 comments:

LovesSam said...

Regina is like the ultimate mean girl name.....how many books and movies have used this name for a nasty character.

I've got this on order, thanks for the fab review, can't wait to read it myself

Donna Gambale said...

I've heard so many incredible things about this book -- but everyone agrees that it's tough to get through and worth it. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

The sad thing is I've known of a girl or two like that. Great review!

MichieBee said...

Another great review for this book. Can't wait to read it myself!

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a good book about "mean" girls and it reminds me of the movie Heathers.

Guinevere said...

This is in my library queue... I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the review.

ninefly said...

I like how you described the book as trimming off all the "fat"
I admit I was a bit apprehensive about reading this at first (won from goodreads) because I don't usually read high school drama, but I'm seeing some really encouraging reviews, including yours =)

Ladytink_534 said...

Huh, interesting! It sounds a bit like a backwards Mean Girls or Jawbreaker...

Staci said...

This sounds like one that I need to get my hands on!!!

Insert Book Title said...

I really want this one now! Great review!

Adele said...

You hit the nail on the head with this review, Lenore. It's edited to an inch of it's life for a break neck speed that propels you head first into the situations that Regina finds herself in. It's a great, great exploration of how evil high school girls can be. Great review.

Sadako said...

Great blog post--I really want to read this. And Regina really is a mean girl name!!

Ali said...

I normally don't like "mean girl books," but after reading her first novel I'm interested to see Summers' take on it.

KarinLibrarian said...

I'm almost finished with this book myself. I completely agree with your opinion. I am glued to the page.

Jess said...

Great review! I've heard nothing but raves about this book, which doesn't surprise me; I loved Cracked Up To Be. I can't wait to read it this weekend!

Anna said...

If I hate the main character, I many times have a hard time enjoying the book. It really depends, though. But hearing that Regina is awful and you can still sympathize with her makes me want to read this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Becky said...

I get the feeling that I just wouldn't enjoy this book. Thanks for the review though.

Kristi said...

Great review - Going to look up where I can get it now.

Mari said...

Can't wait to read this. Sounds good.

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

This review makes me really want to give this a read. Glad to hear this isn't a 'fun' book, as much as I enjoy a fun YA novel it's the serious ones that I really love.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review!
I don't think I've heard negative comments about this one. I really enjoyed "Cracked up to Be" this summer, and I got "Some girls Are" this week. I can't wait to read it!

Allie said...

It always amazes me when a writer can pull off a character like that.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Thanks for the great review. I haven't read a book with a truly unlikable character for a while, but this one sounds interesting.

Kelly said...

I can't WAIT to read this one. I loved her first. Thanks for the great review.

Zibilee said...

Hmm, this does sound like a bit of an uncomfortable read, but intriguing nonetheless! I am going to have to try and search out this book and give it a try! Thanks for the very insightful review.

Bibliovore said...

Oooo. I liked Cracked Up to Be for the same reason--the girl was utterly unsympathetic and yet you liked her. Neat trick. Glad to hear her second book is just as good.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this book. It was great besides the language. They drop the f bomb like 50 times. My "best friend" (ugh) seems to think I'm going to fall off the deep end because I read a book with cuss words. /: But anyway, if you look past the language, the book is incredible. The author really knows how to relate to teens.