Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her—and her best friend's boyfriend—start going around. Now Regina's been frozen out, and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina were guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth, and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past whom she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend...if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.
Tensions grow and the abuse worsens, as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.
I kind of picked this book up on a whim. I already had a copy, since I was curious after reading Courtney Summers' other books, but I really decided to read the book after hearing some over-bearing mother try to ban this book. I thought this was ridiculous, and I'll touch up on that in my review, so I wanted to read the book. Call me a rebel. Anyway, this book was a really raw, realistic take on high school, bullying, and the social order.
Regina was one of the popular kids. She was one of the girls that everyone hated, but everyone was afraid of. When her best friend's boyfriend tries to rape her, word gets around, but instead of people thinking that she was almost raped, they think that she slept with her best friend's boyfriend. She's shunned outside of her group and suddenly she's left with no friends, besides a misfit named Michael that her group used to bully. Now Regina is the one being bullied, each day a new torment, while the people she used to bully herself watch.
This book is so realistic and it makes me glad that I'm both done with high school and went to a high school that, thankfully, situations like this were rare. Sadly, this is something that happens, which is why this book is so real. Which is why that mother upsets me so much. She was against this book because she found it inappropriate, but this book is true to life, and yeah, I get that you don''t want your kid to read certain things, but your kid is old enough to deal with these things and know about what kind of things happens to kids the same age. Also, this book carries certain messages and I found it very offensive that this book is considered inappropriate when many teens have gone through similar situations. Okay, rant over.
There are a lot of books out there featuring bullying and slam-shamming, which are important in YA books, but this one is different. This book features an unlikable main character. She was once a bully herself and circumstances cause the tables to turn and for her to be the victim, so you have a very different dynamic here. You feel sorry for her and horrible for her, but you're reminded quite constantly that she used to do the same to others. The question that is constantly asked within this book is whether she deserves this and Regina herself believes that she actually deserves it at many points.
To be honest, this book made me angry, though not in a 'this book sucks' way. I have issues with bullying books because they are the definition of unfair and I can't do anything about it. I wish I could stop what's happening, but I can't, and instead I just get angry over the unfairness. Maybe it's just me, and it doesn't harm my opinion of this book, but I just wanted to say that I spent an hour and a half in anger.
My main problem with the book, though, was the end. This book would've had a much higher rating if the ending was more satisfactory. I felt like the ending was resolved too quickly and easily, especially compared to the situation and how long the drama lasted in the book. I also didn't feel like it was finished.
Overall, this was a very quick read focusing on a very tough subject. This book is very gritty and real, with a very different perspective than we are used to in these type of novels. I had issues with the ending, and my emotions, but overall I really do recommend this book to those who like to read realistic novels over tough subjects.
I hereby give this book
Meaning: I liked it.