Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.
I could have sworn that I featured Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are on Recommendation Tuesday previously, but alas, I had not. Therefore, I'm fixing that today.
Some Girls Are is a book I read a relatively long time ago, when it came out in 2010 (there were a lot of fantastic contemporary YA novels released that year). This is a tough story, I'm warning you, but one that's extremely important.
Regina is a mean girl, a member of a clique of uber-popular girls who call themselves the Fearsome Fivesome. They're feared in their high school, and no one crosses them. Regina finds out just how terrifying her clique can be when a rumor about her destroys her social world. That rumor is nowhere near the truth, but that doesn't matter as she's frozen out of the Fearsome Fivesome, who's now a Foursome and faces their wrath.
Some Girls Are was a revelatory story for me. When I was in high school a million years ago--give or take--I saw the popular queens of the school as caricatures, as just what I saw on the surface. I don't think this is an unusual experience for anyone outside of that group.
What Courtney does with this novel is force the reader into the uncomfortable place of understanding Regina, and feeling empathy toward her, but not taking the expected road of charting a redemptive path for her. We tend to want clear lines between our good and bad girls and Regina muddies that up for us. Her growing friendship with Michael, a boy she and her clique once tortured, even further twists up the notions we usually have about forgiveness and empathy.
I have a complicated relationship with the discussions around likable characters, but Some Girls Are hones in on the problematic nature of readers/viewers expectations that characters--especially female narrators--be likable or relatable. Regina isn't likable and many people will struggle to relate to her choices, but that doesn't mean she's unworthy of love, respect and a life free of the torment she experiences. And that's yet another reason this novel is so special.
Whenever I recommend Some Girls Are--and I recommend it a lot--I always say it's the most authentic depiction of high school I've read. The intensity of that environment often seems toned down or sanitized to me, but Some Girls Are doesn't pull any punches. So, if you're in the mood for a face punch from a book, look no further than Some Girls Are.
Note: You can snag the paperback of this book on Amazon for a mere $4 right now.
Find it at Amazon | Powell's | Goodreads