I’ve sometimes struggled with listening to someone else read an entire novel to me, but the reader for Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers, stood out just as much as the story itself. I listened to the book through commutes and road trips, and I was itching to get back to it whenever a CD player wasn’t accessible.
In short, I was hooked.
adjective \ˈpä-pyə-lər\: liked or enjoyed by many people.”
What does it mean to be “popular,” anyway? In the world of Some Girls Are, it’s not exactly what one might expect. Regina Afton is extremely popular. She and her best friend, Anna, (the queen bee, if you will) have caused some of their classmates an incredible amount of pain: Anna rules through psychological bullying and intimidation. Regina’s story begins with her fall down the social ladder. Nasty rumours are being spread about her and Anna’s boyfriend, Donny, and suddenly Regina finds herself cast out of her social circle and virtually friendless. Unfortunately, it gets worse for Regina: many of her classmates haven’t forgotten the way she treated them when she was “popular”, and they certainly aren’t stepping in to defend her. Worse still, the cruelest of the cruel (Anna) has resolved to make her life a living hell, and she does exactly that, coercing her social group into helping her.
This book has a very intense tone, and the pacing is so fast it feels like a punch in the gut. I could really feel Anna’s isolation, her half-mad attempts to stand up for herself, and the hopelessness of being bullied and feeling as if there is no one to turn to. What I liked about this story is that Regina was not perfect herself; she had been quite mean to others, and yet somehow she was still relatable. I was able to put myself in Regina’s place and at the same time, it was easy to see that she wasn’t always making the right choices–in fact, some of the things she had done and continued to do were downright awful. Some Girls Are is an exercise in empathy, and the reader can truly feel what it is like to walk in the shoes of a person who is hopefully quite different from themselves.
As we learn more about Regina, the pieces fall into place and we begin to see how she got to where she is. The growth and inner turmoil she experiences are a roller coaster for the reader as much as they are for Regina. I was shocked by the feelings that came with reading this book; I found myself rooting for Regina even when she was in the wrong, but also cringing at the decisions she made and how she justified them. If you enjoy fast-paced, psychological dramas with a visceral core, this book is definitely not to be missed.
Katie Schorr’s performance of the book is fantastic; she brings out the range of emotions and characters incredibly well. Her reading of Anna sometimes sent chills down my spine. This book deals with bullying at its worst without being preachy or judgmental. Some Girls Are is gripping, raw, and at times shocking. It is one of those books that will probably stick with me for a long time, and is definitely worth listening to.