Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Tags: YA, bullying, lies, manipulation, hazing


Summary

Regina Afton used to be part of the most popular, most feared group of girls in the school. That is, until a supposed friend spreads a rumor about something happening between Regina and her best friend Anna’s boyfriend. In the span of a weekend, Regina goes from top-tier to most hated girl in school, the brunt of pranks and bullying that gets worse by the day. Regina ends up sitting at lunch with Michael, a quiet boy in her class whose reputation she helped ruin.

Building friendships with people who hated her isn’t easy, but eventually Regina and Michael seem to be connecting in a way that neither one of them could have imagined. With revenge planned out and a promising future, Regina’s life is looking up. However, her old friends—her tormentors—are not through with her yet, now that she has things to lose.

Review

SOME GIRLS ARE is another powerful tale that establishes Courtney Summers as one of the most talented YA authors writing today. With her trademark simple but powerful writing, Summers explores the deepest, darkest sides of humanity that most of us are unwilling to admit actually exist.

Summers’ writing skips past the B.S. and overly excessive descriptions that often plague literature and get right to the heart of the story: nearly inexpressible raw emotions. Her words are the opposite of rich, and yet she expresses in one short sentence what other writers might take two pages doing. The writing draws you into Regina’s story and refuses to let you go, even through the most horrifying scenes, the ones you want to look away from, but can’t. Summers proves that simplicity is likely the best way to go in packing a punch.

The mean girls in SOME GIRLS ARE are a cross between the eighties John Hughes high school flicks and the nineties horror movies: you have trouble believing such horrid people can exist, and yet you hardly question their terrifying bullying. The combination of Summers’ writing style and the enthralling plot keeps your eyes glued to the pages even as worse forms of bullying than you can imagine keep unfolding. The way things build, it’s almost impossible to imagine how anyone could construct a happy ending to this story, but the ending that Summers gives us is ultimately satisfying, a well-earned bittersweetness that was difficult to achieve, and thus perfect.

It’s interesting and surprising how well we connect and empathize with Regina, who is, after all, one of the mean girls. Even in her fall she continues to plot and think like her old self, and readers can never be certain whether she has learned from what has happened to her or not. Similarly, Regina’s budding friendship and—later—relationship with Michael is unusual for a YA romance, but hardly unsatisfying. There is something delightful to be said about the subtle and unexpected way their relationship develops, and push-and-pull of old, simmering resentment and hatred versus new empathy and love.

Courtney Summers’ second novel removes all traces of doubt one might have about her writing power after her phenomenal debut novel, CRACKED UP TO BE. SOME GIRLS ARE is every bit as good as her first, and perhaps even better in terms of moral complexity. Courtney Summers is now firmly one of my favorite authors, and I will be a zealous devotee to any and every book she writes from now on.

Similar Authors
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Cover discussion: 4.5 out of 5 - It's just...wow! The colors and font are all vivid. Definitely eye-catching and appropriate for the mood of this book.

St. Martin's Press / Jan. 5, 2010 / Paperback / $9.99

Lucky me, I won this from a contest that Courtney held. So thanks, Courtney! :)

64 comments:

  1. I am REALLY looking forward to this now - thanks for the review:)

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  2. I've been hearing and reading a lot about this novel, can't wait to read it myself!

    This kind of novels are one of my favs, what you'd call "real life" novels.

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  3. I won a copy of this from goodreads and reading your review I can't wait for it to arrive!
    I haven't read Cracked Up to Be, mostly since I don't usually read high school drama type stories, but this one sounds rather amazing =D
    and now that I take a look at the larger version of the cover, the colors are gorgeous <3

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  4. This book keeps popping up on my radar, and after your review, I definitely want to read it!
    Thanks!

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  5. Great Review!

    Cracked Up to be was AMAZING. I am beyond excited to read Some Girls Are--and I'm glad that you think it's just as good as Cracked Up to Be!

    Can't wait for it to be released :)

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  6. A book from the POV of a former Mean Girl! Original--most of the books I have read are more about nice girls terrorized by the meanies or by nice girls infiltrating the mean girl ranks...usually the mean girls aren't protagonists.

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  7. Wow, a extremely positive review! You made me want to read this one more than I did before!

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  8. Really great review! I'm so excited for this book. Courtney Summers is awesome. :D

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  9. Wow. Awesome review, Steph - you've just pushed this one firmly onto my most wanted list.

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  10. Sounds awesome! Definitely will have to see how far they can push the "limit" of school bullying. Will HAVE to read this one, thanks. :)

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  11. This sounds really interesting. I'll have to check this out. I'll be adding it to my growing pile of wish list books.

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  12. I'm soo excited about this book! Glad you liked it.

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  13. I can't wait for this to be released. I haven't read her first book but I guess I will have to now. Great review!

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  14. I am in such envy you already read this! I love how Courntey's characters just push and push. Some Girls Are seems like it'll be one hell of a read. Thanks for the review!

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  15. Great Review!
    I cannot wait to read this book, I loved Courtney's first book.

    ~Lizzie

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  16. This was a really great review!! It made me want to read this one. It sounds awesome and will be put on the to buy list..

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  17. Great review! Now I can't wait to read this. :)

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  18. Ive heard such great things about this book and have read cracked up to be and now with your review I am anticipating this book even more.Great review.

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  19. I love that description -- a cross between 80s high school and 90s horror. This book is the definition of edgy YA because the reader is on edge the whole time!

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  20. Im dying to read it!!! Looks so good ;) Great Review ^^

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  21. Great review! I would love to read this!

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  22. This sounds amazing. Though, it's weird to think that this could be better than Cracked up to Be. That's quite a challenge!

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  23. This book sounds awesome, and I'm intrigued by Summers' writing style! I need to read this book! Great review, thanks!

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  24. Great review! Seriously! It's great that you rated it 4.5! My expectations for SGA has risen, just reading your review!

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  25. You make me crazier and crazier about this book. It sounds just perfect.

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  26. Wow! Great review. You've made me really want to read this. I can only hope that it's as good as Cracked Up to Be. Thanks for the review!

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  27. I'm glad this one is so good! I can't wait to read it!

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  28. Courtney Summers has pushed her way to the top of my reading list. I am dying to read Cracked Up To Be, and I would kill to read this.
    It sounds so good, and Courtney just seems likes such an awesome woman.
    Sweet review.

    ~robby

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  29. This sounds great. I really want to read both this and Cracked Up to Be.

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  30. I am so glad you liked Some Girls Are! I really can't wait to read it, Cracked Up To Be was amazing, and every time I go on a book-buying spree I have to double check just to make sure this isn't out yet. *sigh* Bad memory sucks.

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  31. Sounds awesome! I read Courtney's other book and really liked it!

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  32. Books about bullying in YA give me that creepy, anxious feeling in my stomach, and normally that would keep me far away from them... but Courtney is such a powerful writer, there's no way I can miss this one! Great review!

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  33. Great review. The book sounds interesting and is one I'm interested in reading.

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  34. I enjoyed the review. It definitely sounds interesting.

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  35. All I know now is that I must read Cracked Up, if the author is a great as you portray...Some Girls Are is based on a story told many times before, but I hope the author has created her on twist on the situation.

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  36. oh, this book will be Great to read. thanks for the review !

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  37. I'm intrigued by what you said about Regina and Michael's relationship. I want to know what is so different about it... :)

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  38. Wonderful review. I am even more eager to read it now! You're exactly right about her style "Summers’ writing skips past the B.S. and overly excessive descriptions that often plague literature and get right to the heart of the story: nearly inexpressible raw emotions." That's what I loved about Cracked up to be.

    I'm also intrigued that you don;t know whether Regina had changed or not.

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  39. I wasn't as fond as CRACKED UP TO BE as most people, but I am looking forward to this one. I enjoy protagonists who shouldn't be sympathetic but are - the mean girl is a difficult point of view.

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  40. Wow, a 4.5! This sounds like a must-read. I definitely loved Cracked Up To Be so I will also definitely read this one :)

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  41. 4.5!! thats great,,, awesome review

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  42. Great review! Now I really want to read this book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  43. Awesome review! I really liked Cracked Up to Be when I read it last year, and I knew I had to read this one the second I heard about it because of the summary. What I'm really loving about Courtney Summers' writing is that she takes common high school plots and adds so much conflict and depth into the character that the book becomes more about an exploration in the psyche of a complex teenage girl than just another high school plot. If this really is more amazing than Cracked Up to Be (the moral discussion sounds interesting. I don't think I expected that at all), then it is a definite must read in my book. Thank you so much for your review!

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  44. Wow, this book sounds great. I love reading about bullies, for some reason.

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  45. wow, what a book! I also think that bullying is a really serious issue and it sure sucks to be the one bullied. I'd really like to read this book!

    I haven't read anything by Courtney Summers before, this book would seem like a great start.

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  46. woah, sounds intense. I love these type of books. girls really can be quite hateful.

    -Lauren
    lauren51990 at aol dot com

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  47. Awesome review! I almost didn't want to read it in case it had spoilers but you did a great job of writing it. Personally, I can't wait to read SGA. I loved Cracked up to be and am sure that I'll like this one as well.

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  48. This is an awesome review. Now I'm looking forward to reading it for myself.

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  49. Great review! This book sounds really good, but I'll have to read Cracked up to be first! :)

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  50. This book sounds AMAZING!! I sooo wanna read it!! Great review!

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  51. I've been hearing nothing but good things about her two books. It'll be interesting to read something where the MC is a mean girl. :)

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  52. Every time I read a review for Some Girls Are, it just makes me want to read it more and more. It's killing me over here! Arg.

    So glad you liked it! I can't wait to read it for myself!

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  53. Your review makes me want to read it right now! Thank you!

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  54. Wow, I really want to read this.

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  55. Congrats for won it!

    I'd like to read this books, your review is great

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  56. You had me on "cross between a 1980s John Hughes movie and a 90s horror movie." Thanks for the excellent review, now you've REALLY piqued my interest!

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  57. Great job on the review! Wow....it sounds like the subject matter presented is quite heavy, but definitely one that needs to be broached. I have actually read a book of this nature before, but I am definitely going to enter your giveaway for this title....sounds very interesting.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  58. Wow the book sounds great and your review is awesome! I cant wait to read this one!
    Thanks.

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  59. bullying !! Wow. Now thats what I want to read about.
    Nice review :)

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  60. Wow - absolutely adore the way you write in your reviews. Lines like "Summers’ writing skips past the B.S. and overly excessive descriptions that often plague literature and get right to the heart of the story: nearly inexpressible raw emotions." are beautiful in and of themselves.

    This definitely sounds like a very insightful read - and you can't go wrong with a 4.5 rating! After hearing so much great stuff about Courtney Summers, I just may have to give this a shot sometime :)

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  61. This sounds amazing!!! I love your review and how you described it with 80s and 90s flicks...I can't wait to read this one (hopefully I can win the ARC here)

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  62. Well written. Makes me reall want to read this book!

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