Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers

Some Girls AreRegina Afton is the right-hand woman of Hallowell High’s most popular girl, Anna Morrison; as a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, she is feared, adored and loathed in equal measure. Until, suddenly, she isn’t. When Anna’s boyfriend, Donnie, tries to rape her at a party, the whole school – Anna included – thinks she willingly slept with her best friend’s boyfriend. And all of a sudden she’s not feared or adored anymore, but she sure as hell is loathed.

This book was hard and, honestly, I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it was. I read All the Rage a few months ago, and I figured this would be similar, but it’s a lot darker. For one thing, Romy had people who cared about her from the start, while Regina finds herself utterly alone. For another, there was some humour in All the Rage. It’s dark humour, but there were times I laughed out loud, which I never did reading Some Girls Are.

It was so hard that at times I wanted to take a breather, but I couldn’t stop reading. My concern for Regina glued me to the page. I was constantly on the lookout for the next torment her ex-friends would visit on her, never able to relax because I knew the moment I did something horrible would happen. The book is utterly gripping, moreso even than many of the epic fantasy and dystopia books I usually read, because the monsters aren’t psychopathic kings or sadistic dictators, but teenage girls.

The question that permeates the narrative is this: Does Regina deserve any of this? Certainly the girl responsible for much of her torment believes so; after all, Regina tortured her first, along with many other innocent classmates. Regina at times believes it, too. But one thing is perfectly clear: She does not deserve what Donnie did to her, and she does not deserve even a portion of the blame.

All of this is probably making you wonder why I’m recommending this book, and the answer is this: This is not a fun book, but it’s a worthwhile one. It pulls no punches in revealing the brutality of rape culture and high school bullying. It’s disheartening and grim, but Regina finds some measure of redemption, and, more importantly, hope, in befriending a boy she’d previously bullied. It’s a story that tells every teenager suffering through high school that it will get better, that no matter how all-encompassing it might feel right now, high school will end.

Nicola’s high school experience was nowhere near as awful as Regina’s, but she still never understood people who said high school was the best time of their lives. Now she’s happily past it and more likely to be found on Twitter, Tumblr, or her blog.

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