author’s website: Courtney Summers
release date: January 5, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary Fiction
length: 256 pages
overall rating: 5 stars
*the back cover*
Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.
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...that is, until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend started going around. Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was 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.
WOW! This book is incredible. It is an emotional roller coaster that pulls you in and keeps you hanging on through all of the twists and turns to the very end. I picked it up this afternoon and didn’t put it down until I finished. The writing, the characters, and the plot work together to create an astoundingly vivid picture of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the clique that makes life hell for other people.
Regina is an interesting character for a number of reasons. Even before the freeze out, Regina seems to be caught. She seems to be over all of the partying and the craziness that happens at those parties (although it could be because she’s the designated driver). Then, her world is turned upside down when she is nearly raped at a party and her friends – instead of standing by her – decide to make her life miserable. (And all within the first 15 pages of the book!) As I read, I didn’t understand why everyone believed Anna, but as you continue reading, you figure out that Anna is the queen-bee and isn’t to be messed with, or she may turn on you. Regina continues to be intriguing because she seems to actually feel regret about the terrible things she did when she was part of the “Fearsome Fivesome.” Not only does she feel the remorse, but she seems to suffer from it in ways that the other girls never do.
Michael is another fascinating character. As the school misfit, you expect him to be brooding, but with some inner charm. But his past is what is intriguing about him. He was Regina’s victim, but is still the only person who accepts her during the freeze out. The story never really goes into what exactly happened in his bullying situation, but I’m impressed at the fact that he can be bigger than all of the pettiness and accept Regina. **SLIGHTLY SPOILERY – I think that Michael became my favorite character when Regina explains the attempted rape, and he says, “Nobody deserves that.” (p. 60) Just three little words convey a really supportive message that no one else is able to give her. END OF SPOILERY STUFF**
*short and snappy*
writing: straightforward, blunt, and honest, but it creates a strikingly clear story
plot: a roller coaster of emotions with twists and turns right until the end
characters: My first instinct is to say tragic – for as mean as some of the girls are, I kept thinking that there has to be something deeper making them that way. The characters are beautifully created even when they are brutally mean.
judging by the cover: a great cover that ties perfectly to the story