Initial reaction: Quick read, but man, this book hurt. I think it reaffirms that I will devour everything that Courtney Summers writes. I liked this quite a bit, though only with a few caveats.
I’m in awe of how well Courtney Summers can write flawed heroines. Regina, the protagonist in this book, is no different – complicated and complex. I knew going into this novel that it would be an emotional read; I just didn’t know how much. The book starts with Regina being a part of a high school group of queen bees that rule the school. During a drunken night among the girls where she’s the designated driver, Regina’s raped by the boyfriend of her supposed best friend, Anna. She confides in one of the girls about what happened, only to be convinced to not do it. Then all heck breaks loose the next day.
Regina’s experiences turn even more messed up considering how quickly the group turns against her – their bullying, their harassment, their manipulation – they go all out to ruin her emotionally, physically, and mentally. In the same vein, Regina finds herself confronting her own flawed actions and relationships in the mix of her harassment. It’s not a pretty picture considering how Regina abused and manipulated people in the past – and she’s reminded of that through her confrontations with Liz and Michael. It hurts to see just how far Regina went in the past with her abusive actions, but I liked how the narrative shows how much she wrestles with her behavior and comes to terms. Her relationship with Michael was also something I appreciated, particularly in the steady way it grew over time, though it was a tough road getting there.
From a prose perspective, I devoured this book, reading it to the very end without stopping. The narrative pulled me in for the long haul, but it hurt to read for the nature of the exchanges and emotional rollercoasters Regina goes through – her own self-blame, the aftermath of her rape, recognizing her own manipulations while being harassed by people whom she once knew, etc. Anna and the rest of the girls are relentless and really rack up the tension that builds steadily through the book up until the ending. Just when you think they can’t get any worse (and admittedly Regina hits back in ways that aren’t good at all), it shows that the group Regina was once a part of would do anything to assert themselves for power and control. I felt like the book wrapped up too quickly for the climax of all these confrontations (which is something that I’ve found and had issues with in more than one of Summers’ narratives) though it was satisfying enough for me to at least have some room for a resolution/closure.
“Some Girls Are” is definitely a narrative that will stick in my mind, though I wish in some ways it’d went that extra step to provide closure for a few holes remaining in the aftermath.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.