Book Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Book Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are

by Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are

Original Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin

Obtained Via: Bought
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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… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start 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 who 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.

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I’ve read two Courtney Summers novels previously, Cracked Up to Be and This is Not a Test, and I thought both of those books were good but there was something missing that kept me from really being able to immerse myself in the book. Some Girls Are is not like that at all. Indeed, I found it so easy to fully involve myself in the story that I had particularly visceral reactions to the events of this book.

Regina Afton was part of the popular mean girl group at her high school. . . until she wasn’t. Some Girls Are opens with Regina and her friends at a party in which Regina is the designated driver. As the party winds down and Regina goes to collect her friends, she notices her best friend is passed out drunk, and her best friend’s boyfriend tries to sexually assault her. Regina manages to get away and tells another girl, but that other girl uses the situation for her own benefit and spreads a vicious rumor that Regina hooked up with the boy behind her best friend’s back.

From that point out, Regina is frozen out of her group. In many stories, Regina would simply find a new group of friends a little lower on the social ladder and while it might not be what she wanted, she’d be able to adjust, but that’s not the case in Some Girls Are. At this point in time, Regina is pretty much despised by everyone in the school. The popular crowd hates her because they think she was disloyal to her best friend. The less-popular crowd hates her because she’s made many of their lives miserable. All while this is going on, Regina’s also having to cope with the truth about what really happened that night at the party.

Some Girls Are is a harsh, harsh book. If you’ve read contemporary YA before, you’ve probably read your share of mean girls doing nasty things, but the girls in Some Girls Are are pretty much next-level bullies. At one point, the girl who knows what really happened to Regina that night and used it to her own gain locks Regina and her would-be-rapist in a supply closet together. Property is damaged. Cars are keyed. This isn’t just mean notes being passed back and forth(though that happens too), it’s an extreme case, but it still managed to feel incredibly realistic.

What makes Some Girls Are stand out is that Regina herself is a mean, cruel person–and she only stops because she’s kicked out of her clique, not because of some moral realization. She finds herself having to face victims she’s pushed to extremes before, because now they might be the only ones who understand what she’s going through. It’s an incredibly perplex dilemma that Summers manages to handle wonderfully in such a short book.

My only issue with Some Girls Are was the characterization of Regina’s bullies. At first, it made a lot of sense. I liked that the main girl who starts out tormenting Regina has a reason that has its own sort of consistent internal logic, however messed up it was. I also understood why Regina’s former best friend went along with it, because she thought Regina had tried to steal her boyfriend. All of this made sense at the beginning of the book, as well as how it escalated. However, towards the end there were a few scenes I had a lot of trouble believing that these particular characters would act that way. Namely, there’s a scene towards the end of the book where the popular girl clique literally corners Regina, holds her arms behind her back, and beats her up. This didn’t really make sense to me, because it’s such a physically violent action. To this point, the mean girl clique was cruel to the highest order, but they weren’t violent because they were more subtle than that. What they did to Regina was assault, and while I don’t think they would have any moral issue with beating Regina up because they hated her so much, I do think that they would have an issue because they knew those could be criminal counts if Regina ever told. Up to this point they had been so cunning and smart in such a twisted way that it felt like a cheap way to escalate the repercussions to me and wholly out of character with their previous actions.

Other than the issue of characterization, I thought Some Girls Are was a fantastic read. I didn’t exactly enjoy reading it, but upon finishing I did want to hand out a copy to ever teen girl I know.

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Some Girls Are is a harsh and stark look at a group of girls who rule by hatred and their former clique member who finds herself on the receiving side of their bullying. It’s a book that will make you feel things, mostly unpleasant, but that is worth it just for the story and what it has to say. 4/5 cupcakes.

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Top Ten All-Time Favorites from Past 3 Years{Top Ten Tuesday}

Top Ten All-Time Favorites from Past 3 Years{Top Ten Tuesday}

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, which features (you guessed it!) top ten lists on a given topic each week. This week’s topic is. . . .Top Ten All-Time Favorites from the Past 3 years. Personally, I have a lot of favorites so I’m limiting this to books published in the last three years–2012, 2013, & 2014(and this current year too, so I guess 3 yrs and 3 months). These are in no order!

1.Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante

No one who knows me is surprise by this pick. I re-read this book generally at least twice a year and I find something new I love every time. It’s such a beautiful story and I just get all happy sighs when I think about Aristotle and Dante.

2. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give you the Sun

This book ripped my heart out, pieced it back together, and remade the world around it. It’s lovely and strange and sad and hopeful and so many other words. I knew as soon as I read this book that I would return to it over and over again. And while I know I said I was listing these books by order, if I HAD to pick one as my favorite of the ten, it would be this one.

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

blue lily, lily blue

I’ve liked Maggie Stiefvater’s writing for awhile now(with the exception of Shiver), but Blue Lily, Lily Blue just surpassed my expectations. I love how unique this series is, and this one is my favorite of the series so far because the zoom out moment–when the cameras pan out and you realize everything is so much BIGGER and more epic than you thought before.

4. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life

No YA book feels quite as true to me as This Song Will Save Your Life does. It’s such an honest exploration of a girl who’s hopeless, who’s down-and-out, and finds something to be passionate about. Her life doesn’t magically get better. She’s not fundamentally changed. But she gets everything she needs and it’s perfect and healing.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

I have so much love for all of Rainbow Rowell’s books, but Fangirl is my favorite. It’s so refreshing to see a main character like Cath get a story. Cath’s freshman year of college paralleled mine in many ways and the only thing I would change about the book is that I wished it had come out sooner, when I was in college.

6. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our yesterdays

It’s no secret I love time travel books, and All Our Yesterdays is among the BEST. This book wrecked me.

 7. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us

I can generally tell if a book is going on the all-time favorite list if I want to re-read it as soon as I finish it. This happened with Aristotle and Dante, with I’ll Give You the Sun, with All Our Yesterdays, etc. And it happened here too as soon as I finished an ARC of The Walls Around Us. This story is haunting and complex and made me fall in love with Nova Ren Suma’s prose.

8. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

tell the wolves im home

Oh, June. This is one of the few books that made me cry in the past few years. It’s heartbreaking and contains some of my all-time favorite passages. It’s one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read.

9. Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Boys

It’s always hard for me to decide if I prefer Dangerous Boys over Dangerous Girls, but I went with Dangerous Boys because it’s more of a thriller and less of a mystery, which is my preference. I also think the way the story is told in this one really made me feel like I understood the main character’s mind better and as such, it’s stayed with me for so long. It’s a book I’ll return to over and over again.

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress

It feels weird to pick a favorite book from a series that isn’t complete yet(I felt the same way putting Blue Lily, Lily Blue on this list), but the Lunar Chronicles is my favorite currently releasing series and of the books I’ve read, Cress is by far my favorite, mostly because of the characters. I just really adore all the main characters in these books–and I have a soft spot for Cress and Thorne.

11. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Okay, let the record show that when I originally made this list at the beginning of February, I managed to restrain myself to only 10 books. That was an incredible act of restraint, let me tell you. But then the end of February came around and I read A Darker Shade of Magic and I couldn’t keep it off my list. This is probably my favorite fantasy book I’ve read in years. It’s so fun & delightful and I love Kell and Lila and magic and Londons.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Because I couldn’t help myself.

  • Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
  • Winger by Andrew Smith
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  • Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
  • Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
  • The Enchanted by Rene Denefeld

LET’S CHAT: Read any of these? Any of them making your favorite list?

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February 2015 Wrap-Up

February 2015 Wrap-Up

In My Life

February was my first full month living back at home, and that certainly had its ups and downs. I’ve been trying to maintain a positive outlook, and for the most part I think I’ve succeeded. There have been trying times, certainly, like when the hot water heater went out or when my parent’s fairly spacious house started feeling super small. Other than that those small annoyances, it’s been mostly okay. Living in a small town again is fairly annoying, but I figure I managed to survive for the first 18 years of my life so I can do it again.

Other than that, February was strange in the way that February always is because of the short month. I was super productive & got a lot of stuff done this month. It’s not like I really have much in the way of distractions now, so it’s easy to set goals and conquer them. Lots of forward momentum on the job search(which is good because in January I was started to definitely lose some steam because it can be just so hard & frustrating) & I wrote a ton! In fact, I finished a first draft of a fantasy and started a thriller while I let the first draft settle(I can never start revising drafts right after I finish them. I have to give them some space). Oh, and I read a lot because like I mentioned, there’s really nothing else to do here.

This past weekend I took a little trip(just like a 3 hour drive) to visit a friend for her birthday, and it was really fun! I had seen this friend right before I moved because we used to be neighbors(as in, not only did we live in the same apartment complex, but the same building, separated only by one other unit), so it was really nice to get to visit. Our plans were slightly waylaid by snow and ice. Originally we were going to drive to Dallas and she had some stuff planned she wanted to do, but that didn’t pan out, so we ended up just doing some local stuff, but it was really fun. There was much bookstore browsing and board games. I also went to a World Market for the first time and I may be a tiny bit obsessed. Imported teas and chocolate, guys. I’m currently munching on these Austrian chocolate wafers that have coffee cream in them. They’re basically chocolate coffee kit-kats.

We also went to the movies & saw Jupiter Ascending, which was marvelous in its terribleness. I enjoyed the movie very much, but not really in the way the movie was meant to be enjoyed. It was hilarious & I by the end I completely stopped trying to hold in my laughter. The movie was fun, but it didn’t hold a candle to browsing a huge aisle of foreign chocolate. In truth, though, the entire weekend was really entertaining and it was a good book end to the month.

 

I watched

I started watching The 100. I’m not sure how I feel about it so far. I’ve seen nine episodes, and I definitely saw the uptick in quality around the 4th-5th episode that everyone told me about. The acting, writing, and plot definitely approved, but I’m just not hooked yet. Pretty much I’m at that stage that when I watch an episode, I enjoy it and get into it, but I don’t necessarily feel the pull to watch another episode after that. I’m very much take-it-or-leave-it at this point, bu I AM going to at least see season 1 through.

 

I listened

Put a Light On by Generationals

Morocco by Moon Taxi

Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson

Background by Barcelona

I read

I read 19 books this month. Looking at my ratings, I was pretty even this month in terms of how I thought about books. My re-reading binge sort of tilted the amount of 5 star reads up, but even taking that into consideration I liked the majority of the books I read this month–though I had way more 2 stars than normal. I very rarely give two stars because most of the time, I end up marking those books as DNF before I get to a point where I would rate them. I’m more likely to give a book 1 star than I am to rate it 2 stars. . . but not this month. That’s really nothing in and of itself, but I’m going to be watching my reading to see if this trend continues.

5 star Reads:

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson(re-read)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater(re-read)
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas(re-read)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

4 star Reads:

 Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Black
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
You by Caroline Kepnes
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater(re-read)
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

3 Star Reads:

Like No Other by Una LaMarche
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater(more of a 3.5, re-read)
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

2 star Reads:

 Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward
Making Pretty by Corey Anne Haydu
One Plus One Equals Blue
by MJ Auch

1 star & DNF Reads:

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson(I’m so sad because this is my first 1-star since last May. I’ve gotten so good at pick books I like or marking as DNF if I don’t).
The Memory Key by Liana Liu(DNF)

 

Favorites

Favorite Book

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab–my only 5 star book of the month, not counting re-reads, and it earned every single one of those 5 stars.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Favorite Quote

Gonna kinda cheat on this one and use a quote from one of the books I re-read–but hey, I do what I want. From I’ll Give You the Sun.

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”

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Probably this past weekend & getting to hang out with friends. There was a lot of laughter involved and it was just really fun. I think I needed that to recharge after a sort of lackluster(yet productive) month.

 

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List of Regularly Occurring Bookish Twitter Chats

I really love participating in twitter chats. Some of the people I interact with most on social media I initially met during twitter chats, and I just find them really fun and often informative. A few days ago I sent a tweet asking if anyone had a master list of twitter chats, and when that didn’t come back with anything, I did some internet sleuthing. I found lots of sites that had master listings of writing twitter chats, twitter chats for fashion bloggers, but none that listed all the bookish chats, so I decided to try and create this resource.

So, here is the list of all the bookish twitter chats I could find! I decided that I’d list chats if they fell into this criteria:

  1. Bookish twitter chats that are not exclusively for writers. There are some chats that sometimes talk on their topic from a writing perspective and then other times discuss from a reading perspective. I included those, but left out chats(normally genre-based) that were about discussing from a writing perspective.
  2. Chat has to be reoccurring. It doesn’t matter how often they reoccur as long as they aren’t one-time chats.

I’m going to pin this page in my sidebar and keep adding to it, so if you know of a bookish twitter chat that’s not listed feel free to mention it in the comments. I was surprised by how few chats I could find(I spent hours and only found six), so if there are more I don’t know about I would love to be informed!

On the Same Page Chat

Hashtag: #otspchat
Hosted by: Amy @ Tripping Over Books, Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide, Alyssa @ Books Take You Places
Occurs: generally bi-weekly on Thursday nights at 9/8 central PM.
Topic: A general bookish chat with different topics every chat–chat topics are announced on the On the Same Page twitter ahead of time.

Bout of Books

Hashtag: #boutofbooks
Hosted by:
Chat is hosted on the Bout of Books twitter, Bout of Books readathon is hosted by Amanda and Kelly
Occurs: Bout of Books is a readathon hosted a few times a year, and there’s generally 3 chats during the week of the readathon. More info and a schedule is available on the Book of Books website.
Topic:
Readathon progress & books in general.

#YAlit Chat

Hashtag: #yalitchat
Hosted by: Hosted on the #YAlitchat twitter, founded by Georgia McBride.
Occurs: Wednesdays at 9 PM EST.
Topic: Various YA literature related topics; note that some topics are more geared towards writing YA. More info available on the YALitchat site.

@BookBlogChat (UK based)

Hashtag: #bookbloggers
Hosted by:
Chat happens on the BookBloggers Chat twitter, hosted by Becky.
Occurs:
7-8 PM UK time. Topic: From the BookBloggers Chat twitter description: “chat books, authors, book bloggers & everything else inbetween.”

#K8chat

Hashtag: #K8chat
Hosted by: Kate Tilton
Occurs: Thursdays at 9 PM Eastern.
Topic: From the #k8chat page: “A publishing related chat where we discuss topics relevant to readers and authors”. More info including an upcoming schedule is listed on the page as well.

LitChat

Hashtag: #litchat
Hosted by: LitChat twitter account
Occurs: Monday and Wednesdays from 4-5 PM EST.
Topic: From the LitChat website: ” a fun, fast, and friendly way for book-lovers to talk about books on Twitter.”

There are two more events I know of that also have chats–Bloggiesta and Armchair BEA. I didn’t add to the list originally because why they are regularly occurring they don’t always occur at the same time and are sometimes more blogging than book focused, but I wanted to still link to the information about the events/chats for anyone interested.

I used this list of twitter chats to help compile this list(it’s a great resource). Know of any more chats(or have updated information on any that I’ve listed?) Feel free to leave the info in the comments!

 

5 Reasons I Loved When Joss Met Matt(Blog Tour) + Giveaway

5 Reasons I Loved When Joss Met Matt(Blog Tour) + Giveaway

jossmetmattblogtour

If you look around Book.Blog.Bake, you’ll see that I’m *very* picky about doing blog tours. As in, I’ve only done one before. However, I absolutely LOVED When Joss Met Matt and I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for this book because it is a fabulous NA that I simply can’t stop talking about! For my tour stop I’m sharing 5 reasons I loved When Joss Met Matt–and if that’s not enough, you can read my review.

5 Reasons I Loved When Joss Met Matt

 

1. Friends to friends with benefits to more

When Joss Met Matt hit pretty much all my great romance buttons. They meet in college, and while they move to the “friends with benefits” stage pretty quickly, it takes them a good chunk of time to move to something more. It’s the ultimate slow burn, and the fact that it’s ALSO a friends to lovers story? LOVE.

2. Perfect balance between not angst-filled, but also deals with real issues

When Joss Met Matt just struck that sweet spot. It’s not a dark and angsty NA. The tone, for the most part, is fairly light and fun, but the characters also get to deal with real issues at the same time. They struggle with so many of the things I’ve longed for NA characters to have to grapple with, and since the book takes place over such a long period of time, the reader actually does get to see into the struggles. Matt’s not sure about graduate school. Joss finds a job she loves as a vet tech, but she still has to deal with all the other unique struggles of being a new adult–living alone, figuring things out, etc.

3. The romance is super sweet

I loved Matt. I loved Joss. I loved Joss & Matt together. They’re not perfect characters. I shook my head at Joss more than once–but I shake my head at my eighteen-year-old self too. Seeing her growth was amazing, but seeing Joss and Matt grow together was wonderful. I loved that this romance was not sweep-you-off-your-feet passionate, but it was grounded in real life and sweet & swoony.

4. The romance was super sweet. . . and full of banter.

THE BANTER. Man, I loved it so much. Joss and Matt just had such compatible personalities even as friends that I loved reading them teasing each other. One thing I loved is that when Matt & Joss came up with the rules for their sorbet encounters, they kept their personalities and it just shone through all the way. This wasn’t two random people hooking up. This was Joss and Matt, two clearly defined characters, and their actions all the way through show that.

5. The time line really showed character growth

Despite the premise based around sorbet sex, the scenes in When Joss Met Matt are pretty tame–I’ve read more explicit scenes in books that are classified as YA. But the reason When Joss Met Matt is a great NA book? The way the time line played with Matt & Joss’s college experience and the years after. Back-and-forth doesn’t always work for me, but I LOVED the time line here because we got such a span of time to see these two characters. People can change a lot between their first semester of college and the time they’re twenty-five, and it was a delight to see. SorbetSexRules_HIREZ_V2

GIVEAWAY:

The publisher is giving away 10 copies of When Joss Met Matt. Giveaway ends 3/3/2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advance praise for When Joss Met Matt:
 
“Hands down, one of my favorite New Adult reads . . . Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!”New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack 

“This is one of those books that make you forget everything around you. Prepare to be consumed by this story.”—Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Wild
 
“Fun, sexy, and full of amazing chemistry, When Joss Met Matt is an entertaining escape that will leave you smiling with every turn of the page.”—Cassie Mae, author of The Real Thing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her blog, where you can also follow along with the rest of the WHEN JOSS MET MATT blog tour.