Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - 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. From Goodreads.
Courtney Summers' books have been raved about for as long as I've been blogging, and it was always my intention to read them at some point. Then recently, Summers wrote on her Tumblr about how Some Girls Are was banned from a South Carolina high school summer reading list because of constant complaints from a student's parent. Banning books is something that makes me so angry, so upon hearing the news, I ordered myself a copy of Some Girls Are in support - and it's absolutely brilliant.
Regina is one of the most popular girls in her high school. She and her friends are feared and awed at the same time. Fellow students are there for their entertainment, to be mocked, to be humiliated, to be brought down. When Regina is sexually assaulted by her best friend Anna's boyfriend, Donnie, it's the beginning of her own downfall. Anna doesn't believe he tried to rape her. She is convinced by another member of the clique, Kara - who hates and is on a lower peg than Regina - that Regina actually slept with Donnie, consensually, behind her back. Now the clique is out to make Regina's life a living hell. They trash her locker, they reveal her secrets, they create a website of hate about her. As time goes on, the bullying gets worse and worse. Her only solace is Michael, an outcast she helped outcast. Regina treated him so disgustingly, and Michael has a hard time forgiving her. But there's nowhere else for Regina to go, and his honesty - as well as her treatment - is making her rethink everything. She's suddenly seeing Michael in a completely different light, and there's the hope of something more... but will her ex-friends allow Regina to have anything good in her life?
Some Girls Are is a terrifying story, and a hugely upsetting one. Although I was nowhere near as badly bullied as the people in this book, I knew these girls. I knew what they were capable of, and I did my utmost to be invisible to them. Reading Some Girls Are brought back the fear and intimidation I felt on a daily basis. Whether you've experienced it or not, it's impossible to read this book and not feel horrified at the lengths these girls go to hurt and torment Regina. It's shocking, but yet unsurprising. And it's upsetting to watch just how bad things get for Regina.
I need to talk about Michael, and how amazing he was. I'm a little worried my description is making Michael seem like a walkover who just allowed Regina to come into his life because it's Regina, or out of intimidation. Michael is a pretty strong guy, despite having next to no friends at school. The girls made it quite clear that he is the social parriah, and no-one is to give him the time of day. Rumours flew around about him and how he's dangerous, and no-one will go near him. He doesn't give Regina an easy time, at all. In fact, he confronts her with the truth of her actions over and over, and they argue, and Regina has nowhere to hide from the light he's shining on this person she was, because she has nowhere to go, but facing it is unbearable. By the time the book ends, Regina is a better person, but she's far from perfect. It's hard to shake off treating people in a way that's all you know, and she uses it whenever she can to try to get back at her old clique, and does some awful things herself. But Michael has her questioning it all, and it's great to see this affect he has on her.
I wasn't so keen on the ending. It seemed to end to abruptly, and it felt to me like things worked out a little too easily. After everything that happened, things are sorted within a few pages, and it just felt a little off. But it's only a few pages, and the book as a whole is amazing.
I am, I'm afraid, unable to review this book without talking about the banning of it. The parent who brought about the banning of Some Girls Are, who read the whole book, said it was "smut" and "trash". How this woman could even flirt with the idea that this book could be either is beyond me. It makes me so angry. This book is absolutely incredible. It's hard-hitting, it's terrifying, but it's so real, and for this woman to not just dismiss Some Girls Are, a book that shows the reality of how horrifying bullying can really get, as "trash" but also stop other teenagers from reading this book has me raging to the point where I'm almost crying. There are so many people who could be helped by this book. So many people who can see their own experiences reflected back at them, so many people who could read this book and think twice about either actively taking part in the bullying of another person, or laughing when they witness it, or being a part of the rumour mill. This book could even affect some people so much that they could actually help someone being bullied when they see it, stand up for them, do something. And those teens in that school are being denied the opportunity to have this incredible book affect and change them, and that is beyond wrong. I am livid.
Some Girls Are is such an important reads, and needs to be read. So do read it; support Some Girls Are and Courtney Summers, and fight against the banning of books. This is a book that could do so much good.
Published: 5th January 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Courtney Summers' Website