Miranda @ Bibliodaze

I'm an awesome 24 y/o reader and writer of YA fantasy/historical fantasy. I mainly write about awesome ladies and the people who love them. I work at a library and I'm a contributing reviewer to Bibliodaze.

Some Girls Are

Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers Regina Afton used to be at the top of the school hierarchy; best friends with the most popular girl in school, Anna, and a member of the Fearsome Fivesome. Until one night at a party with Anna’s boyfriend changes all of that, and she finds herself the target of her former friends abuse. Seeking some kind of solace, she sits down next to Michael Hayden, a former victim of hers, at the Garbage Table in the cafeteria, leading to an uneasy friendship and possibly more. Some Girls Are is actually better than Summers' debut novel, Cracked Up to Be. Both are realistically harsh and hard to read at times, but Some Girls Are was harder than Cracked. I’m going to forewarn anyone reading this that there are triggers, especially sexual assault, mental, emotional, physical and verbal abuse in this book and in this review. The book starts out at a party, where Regina is the designated driver. She goes to find her friends so they can leave as she’s not having a good time, and finds her best friend Anna unconscious on a couch in an empty room. Empty save for Anna’s boyfriend, Donnie. Regina has never liked Donnie and has not been shy in stating as much, to the point where Anna comments that they’re always “this close to hate-fucking.” Regina tries to get Anna out into the car so she can drive her home, but Donnie stops her and what follows is a far too real and hard to read assault scene. Regina manages to get away before Donnie can get further than putting his hand up her skirt, but the damage has been done. A terrified Regina walks numbly to one of her friend's houses, a girl named Kara, for help. Kara talks her out of going to the police, at first for seemingly good reasons. But when Regina goes to school the next Monday, she finds that her friends are ignoring her... and then she finds her locker with the word WHORE spray painted on it. Regina realizes that Kara told Anna about the incident but twisted it so that it seemed that Regina and Donnie had consensual sex instead of the assault that really happened. What follows is day after day of abuse at the hands of the Fivesome, now the Foursome. Suddenly, Regina is in the same spot that she and her friends had put others in when she was a part of the group. No one really wins in this book. Regina is sympathetic at times and horrible at others, following peer pressure easily and reliving the things she put other people through as they happen to her. She’s a deeply flawed character, but it was still hard to read what happens to her. Summers makes sure to bring the point home that what Regina did before the book was horrible and she does deserve some kind of punishment for it, but not the kind she’s getting. It was sadly all too realistic how her friends didn’t believe her when she tried to tell Anna that Donnie tried to rape her, and how they joke about it later. The extent of their disbelief is shown when they lock Regina and Donnie together into a supply closet and laugh about it later. Donnie again, in his anger at being dumped by Anna and the abuse he’s getting as well, takes it out on Regina in another attempt at rape. Regina is saved by a girl she used to be friends with but later had to abuse at Anna’s order, a girl named Liz. Even Liz is not as good as the rest of the characters. She openly admits, in the end of the book, that she wanted to see Regina beaten up and in pain, as some kind of reward for the years of torture Regina put her through. It’s understandable that she would want to see her abuser in some kind of punishment, but it’s still hard to swallow right at first. Kara’s hatred of Regina really shines through, and she’s less sympathetic than the others. Even Anna has a few moments of goodness, but Kara has very few. She does have her reasons for hating Regina as much as she does, but they don’t quite seem to compare to what she’s putting Regina through in the story. It’s a harsh punishment, a dehumanizing punishment, and Kara revels in it almost perversely. She was hard to like and be sympathetic to, even when she’s telling Regina all the things Regina ever did to hurt her and why she’s returning the favor. Some Girls Are could actually be read as a very good commentary on rape culture and bullying. The disbelief of the truth that Anna and the others have, and the dehumanization and shaming that Regina later receives, are all symptoms of a rape culture. The fact that Regina easily buys into not reporting the incident to the police so that she “doesn’t have to put herself through that” is another thing women and men who are assaulted must go through. There were even a few jokes about rape, all at Regina’s expense. The fact that Regina doesn’t tell her parents about the bullying, except for the spray paint on her locker, and that the teachers often look the other way is all too real as well. The relationship between Michael and Regina is uneasy at best, but the way they slowly become friends and then enter a relationship is believable. Michael becomes her only solace, and he slowly begins to forgive Regina of the things she’s done when she shows actual remorse for it, though it accounts to very little. He takes a chance and it helps her immensely. It was so well written that when Anna pulls out her final trick, that she would take Michael’s journal--that he writes down everything in--to the school administration and show them a page that said “I want to kill everyone in this school”, unless Regina joined back with them and dump Michael, it was heartbreaking to read the next few chapters. Regina complies to keep Michael safe, even as it nearly destroys their relationship. She puts up with the abuse, worse now that she’s back in the group, all to keep Michael from expulsion. Of course Michael wrote the page years before, when he was being bullied and harassed, but Regina notes that people change, and Michael has. But it doesn't matter; if the administration sees it, he's gone. The ending, at least, was a good breather after two hundred pages of depression. Summers seems to like ending her books on a somewhat hopeful note, telling the readers that her characters do have a chance at redemption and happiness, though it may take a long time to get there. It’s a good ending to use, especially for Regina, who does have a lot to make up for, and not in the way she’s been made to suffer as the book progresses. Regina’s story is a good one, if far too horrifying at times to read. It’s a good message to send out--that bullying must end, and we have to make it safer for women, girls and men to report their assaults--and one that needs to be repeated often until it becomes a reality.

Currently reading

A Feast for Crows
George R.R. Martin
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media
Susan J. Douglas
The Winter Rose
Jennifer Donnelly
Progress: 259/720 pages