Book Title/Author: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Publisher/Year: 2010 St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary YA
Other Books From Author: Cracked Up To Be, This Is Not A Test, Fall For Anything,
Borrowed from a friend!
Regina is best friend’s with the most popular girl in school and the keystone of their group “the Fearsome Five.” They have the reputation for being super popular but also being really nasty and being capable of ruining people’s reputations without even blinking. A nasty rumor that isn’t at all true starts to circulate that pits Regina and Anna against each other and Regina finds herself being ignored and on the outs. Soon enough she finds herself the target of a major revenge plot and bullied relentlessly. Regina doesn’t find much pity in the rest of the student body, the same people she has terrorized, but begins to find a reluctant friend in a guy who had a hand in destroying socially. As she fights back against her old friends she also fights to be forgiven.
WOW. Courtney Summers, I will be reading all of your books. Some Girls Are was one of those most venomous mean girl stories I’ve ever read and made me want to dive into these pages and drop kick these girls. I love the “popular mean girl fall from grace” kind of stories for some reason (I just read Speechless by Hannah Harrington recently which was great) but this one was the most powerful, authentic feeling one yet. I read most of this while on vacation for 2 hours in the TUB because I couldn’t put it down long enough to get out. I kept having to blast hot water and I ended up looking like a pruny old lady but Courtney Summers pulls you in, friends. I never knew what was going to happen!
It was such an interesting experience to watch Regina fall from grace because you feel so conflicted. On the one hand, you can tell she is a mega biotch who has been a HUGE bully and so you kind of hate her from the start. But early on you have sympathy pangs for her because something terrible happens to her and it all gets twisted into an AWFUL rumor by someone in her group. But then you think, (about the rumor aspect… NOT about what happened to her), “pshh girl got what is coming to her with all HER nasty rumors she’s started.” But then as the bullying gets worse from everyone in school you feel for the girl. Having a heart…it’s a bitch sometimes! I can’t stand to see anyone get bullied and what happens to her is TERRIBLE and nobody deserves it. I felt really emotional and sick about it because it felt so real. I’ve never been bullied before but I’ve heard about terrible things and seen stories about kids being bullied to the point of suicide and it angers me. Courtney Summer made sure your heart would flip flop over whether to like/dislike Regina but you could agree she didn’t deserve THAT.
I loved the characterization and the arc of Regina. For these years her identity has hinged on being the second most popular girl in school…part of the Fearsome Five (what a lame-o name to call yourselves lol). That’s who she is. She’s done a lot of things to a lot of people and now starts to understand what it is like to be in their shoes. What I loved is that, even though I was pulling for her, she left a bad taste in my mouth a lot. She really did. Just because somebody becomes an outcast doesn’t mean they automatically change or stop THINKING the way the used to and I loved that Courtney Summers didn’t try to sugarcoat her for the sake of making her more “likeable.” I felt like the glimmers of goodness in her that I saw really came from somewhere that was buried and I was rooting for her to dust it off and BEGIN to see that she could be a better person. She had to endure a lot to learn things about herself and about how she wanted to live and I felt like that’s true of life a lot. We don’t learn things easy most of the time thus I don’t expect a character to suddenly be this different person when their circumstances change.
I also love that Regina didn’t have these characters who were, no questions asked, just NICE to her and felt bad for her. Sometimes I feel like there is always, in books, that ONE person who automatically scoops them up and is nice to them and that CHANGES THEM FOREVZ. It felt realistic that Michael and others would be skeptical of her and not so welcoming and she had to do a lot of the CHANGE herself and make amends for what she has done. I also thought it was really realistic that she DIDN’T tell anybody like her parents or a teacher. So often, teens feel like nobody will believe them or it will cause them to be ostracized even more for telling. Plus a lot of times people think it will go away if you endure enough.
Color me very, very impressed. Where have you been all of my YA reading life, Courtney? You gave me a plot that I couldn’t resist that delivered on so many levels. At the very height of the bullying I was appalled and ready to dive in and kick some mean girl butt with Regina even though she herself was not entirely forgiven in my mind. I had very intense and conflicting feelings towards Regina most of the time, Summer’s intent I’m sure, which was actually awesome because it’s a testament to that struggle we have in our head and our hearts where we feel conflicted about justice, compassion towards people who you feel don’t deserve it and second chances. Courtney Summers lets us grapple with that while reading the most page-turning, appalling story of mean girls and bullying. It was so addictive but I feel weird saying that because of the subject matter?
Let’s Talk: Have you read this? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you like it as much as I did? Did you like Regina and find her redeemable? What are some books you’ve read that deal with the “mean girl fall from grace” trope or bullying?