Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Girls Are

Like mean girls? Okay, no one really likes mean girls, though some misguided people want to be mean girls. But lots of us like reading about them. For mean girls to the extreme look no further than Courtney Summers's Some Girls Are. Warning: unlike the movie that spawned the term "mean girls" this mean girls novel is almost completely devoid of humor. In fact, things start off seriously and get downright grave thereafter.

Our main character, Regina narrowly escapes being dated raped by her best friend's boyfriend in chapter one. Frightened and distraught, Regina goes to the exact wrong person for comfort. Word of advice? Don't seek comfort from the girl in your clique who's actually your worst enemy because you've made her life a nightmare for many years on end. Especially if you know she's got it out for you. Sadly, this is only the first of the several fairly stupid things Regina does in the course of this novel, but we'll give her a break considering the circumstances. She can't go to her best friend because her best friend is passed out drunk, just like everyone else in her circle of friends, so Regina's only choice turns out to be worst enemy. Okay, fine.

No, not fine. Big mistake. Kara, aka Worst Enemy, spins the story so that by the end of the weekend everyone believes that Regina seduced her best friend's guy. Regina is summarily thrown out of the popular clique and becomes lowest chick on the totem pole. The popular kids despise her because their leader commands it to be so; the non-popular kids despise her because she's been horrible to all of them for many years. This leaves Regina with absolutely no one. Things get ugly, then uglier. So ugly in fact that the novel seems hysterical in lots of parts. Is it overwrought or is this an accurate depiction of how cutthroat high school social structures work? The torture Regina suffers ranges from the psychological to the physical. At one point she is locked into a supply closet with the same guy who tried to rape her. Another girl has tried to commit suicide after her fall from clique grace. Is it believable that the leader of the clique could wield so much power that everyone follows her? It was hard for me to believe, not because I don't think high school society is cruel, but mainly because the character isn't very well developed. Why doesn't anyone in the clique think for themselves?

I don't think I am really liking this novel. (Full disclosure: I'm only two-thirds through right now.) But I need to find out what happens. I don't really like Regina. I definitely don't like her ex-friends. I do like the "weird" guy who is Regina's sort of friend. (His mother was killed when a bridge collapsed on her. Like I said, this novel is humorless.) Still, something is compelling about the read. If you like dark stories, mean girls, and seriously twisted high school politics, this is the book for you.

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