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Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

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Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers opens with a heart-pounding, thoughts-racing incident, and Summers lets up only for a second to give the reader a chance to breathe before she puts the hold on again. Her second novel for young adults is intense and real.

The premise for SGA is simple: Spurned by the popular crowd of which she was once a part, Regina Afton retaliates. But, oh, the complexities that Summers weaves into this design.

SGA is so tight, so fast, so intense--just overall excellent. The feelings in it are true, and even for those of us who weren't in the popular circle, we know the machinations, so the downfalls and the vengeance are excellent. Regina suffers through a good part of the story like a boxer who refuses to fall, then she comes out swinging. One can't help but revel as Regina exacts her revenge. (I read with blood dripping off my teeth, a wild look in my eyes.)

Summers draws the high school experience with a fine hand: loving but oblivious parents, parents who are largely absent, secret hiding places of the school building in which to hide out for a while, and of course all the drinking, drugs, swearing—none of it gratuitous, all of it real.

In both Some Girls Are and Cracked Up To Be (Summers’ first novel), Summers ends without putting the characters in a circle holding hands in field of daisies (where of course they'd be singing, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.") I think these are realistic endings, the only kind of endings for YA readers who know that life doesn't dot all the i's or cross all the t's.

Books like this become a friend to the reader because the secret feelings of being in high school--the insecurities, the ambitions, the alienation--are laid bare for all to see. You know that old writerly saying--"Open a vein"? Courtney Summers has done it with this book.

I recommend this novel for mature YA readers. I also recommend it for writers—Some Girls Are is the epitome of tight writing and excellent pacing. I guarantee you’ll turn every page in one sitting.
#1 - January 16, 2010, 09:25 AM
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