Title: Some Girls Are
Author: Courtney Summers
ISBN: 9780312573805
Pages: 246 pages
Publisher/Date: St. Martin’s Griffin, c2009.

I’m Regina Afton. I’m Anna Morrison’s best friend. These aren’t small things, and Kara’s right: They’re worth keeping my mouth shut for. So I kept my mouth shut the whole weekend, and I’m still Regina Afton and I’m still Anna Morrison’s best friend.

Friday never happened.
I wipe a light sheen of sweat from my forhead. Anna, Kara, Jeanette, and Marta usually wait for me at the front so we can enter school the Fearsome Fivesome. It’s the only part of the day I sort of like, standing next to Anna, untouchable.
Everyone is afraid of us.
Today, they’re nowhere to be found. (13)

Regina Afton is a senior, and has been part of the reigning Fearsome Fivesome group throughout high school, wrecking havoc on people’s lives. But a nasty rumor after a party at the beginning of the school year causes Regina to not only be “frozen out” from her clique but also to become the butt of some evil pranks and bullying. Seeking solitude at the one lunch table that will have her, Regina tentatively strikes up a conversation with Michael. Michael was one of her victims, and has no initial inclination of forgiving her, until new information comes to light regarding the rumor that started it all. Will Regina’s past continue to haunt her, or is her present just as detrimental to her classmates?

I kept describing this book in my brain as a Mean Girls (the movie) in reverse meets Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The ironic thing is that the mean girl IN Mean Girls is named Regina, which might have contributed to my constant comparisons. Am I the only one making this comparisons?

The things that these girls do to each other are horrible. Absolutely, sincerely, without a doubt HORRIBLE, like the rumors they spread and the things they do to each other inside and outside school. The physical violence just floored me, having never been the victim of that kind of abuse. It sort of makes sense to me why the characters wouldn’t go to the authorities, trying to avoid the retaliation that it might encourage from other people. And why would Regina’s classmates believe her after the abuse she wrought on others.

Regina’s fall from popular it girl is swift, merciless, and completely unexpected to her and the readers. — Well, maybe not unexpected to the readers, since it says as much in the blurb on the cover. But you keep half expecting the problems to blow over. Instead, they escalate with astonishing swiftness. I’m assuming that some students might experience that kind of abuse, which is disheartening to say the least.

I was somewhat disappointed that Anna was portrayed as the cliché mean girl. Don’t get me wrong, Courtney Summers did an amazing job explaining Anna’s reasoning behind the mean things she does to Regina and her classmates after the book starts. But I’m almost more interested in finding out the evolution of Anna, and what happened that she became this nasty teenager. Regina, Michael, and Liz were the most realized for me, which is understandable since they are the “good guys” in this story and they are all forced to consider some major choices. All three partake in some major growth by the end of the story, which works even if it is a little idealistic in my opinion. And I loved Michael and Liz for their strength and courage and also for their realistic reactions to Regina.

I finally snap. “Then why did you even let me sit with you in the cafeteria that first day? Why wouldn’t you tell me to fuck off if you hate me that–”
“Because I wanted to call you a bitch to your face, and I wanted to make you uncomfortable, and I wanted to see you suffer up close, that’s why. God, maybe I’m as bad as–”
He stops. There’s this stunned silence. I’m as bad as you. I want to dare him to say it. He’s as bad as me, and Kara’s as bad as me, and I’m as bad as Anna, who killed all the things that were good about me before they got the chance to do any good.
“I ruin lives–I get it,” I say. “I don’t need to be told over and over and over.” (104)

In a sense, we’re torn between cheering for Michael and Liz, hoping they get their revenge on Regina and cheering for Regina, crossing our fingers that she is able to make a better life for herself now that the clique has kicked her out.

This is one of those books that teen girls especially need to read, whether they are the bullies who need to discover how their abuse could affect their victims, the victims of abuse who are expected to overcome this abuse, or the bystanders who struggle to do the right thing in the midst of ostracism.