First Lines: Hallowell High: You’re either someone or you’re not. I was someone. I was Regina Afton. I was Anna Morrison’s best friend. These weren’t small things, and despite what you may think, at the time they were worth keeping my mouth shut for.
I’m on a mission to read all of these books I’ve had on my to-read list forever. This is one of them. I don’t even remember why I added it. It’s really not the kind of thing I would normally read, but Courtney Summers is a good writer, so that might be my reasoning.
Regina Afton used to be one of the most popular girls in school. And she liked her place at the top of the high school food chain. But Regina loses her place when rumors begin swirling about her and her best friend’s boyfriend. Her friends hate her and they want revenge for what she did. If only Regina had actually done something, but the truth is so far from the rumors. The bullying intensifies with every day. The only peace she gets is when she sits with Michael Hayden, a social outcast with a tragic past…and someone Regina used to bully. Friendship isn’t easy for these two, but Regina wants to make amends. But what do amends matter when the Fearsome Foursome have you in their sights?
Ok. So basically, this book is Mean Girls. That’s the easiest way to describe it, and one that most people get to after reading the synopsis. I mean, come on, the main character is named Regina! (Ironically, I really don’t like Mean Girls, but I pictured this story being about Regina George.)
There were a lot of things this story did well that were kind of surprising when I thought about it. Like this point: Regina can be incredibly hard to like. I mean, there were times when I wanted to hate her. She’s pretty much what you would expect out of an anti-hero. She’s so far from a saint she could pass as Lucifer’s right hand woman. (Ok, I may be going a bit too far with that one…) Anyway, you really don’t want to like her. But you can feel for her anyway. Even when I was sitting there hating her, I didn’t want these bad things to keep happening to her.
These popular girls are vicious. The stuff they get away with because they are popular is insane. As someone going into teaching (and who lived through high school), I can’t believe this stuff really happens. This felt like bullying on steroids, but I know all of this has happened to someone before. I have the hardest time wrapping my mind around how people can be so cruel.
If their pranks weren’t so vicious, I’d be in awe of how clever they are. I guess that’s also part of why they were so vicious. The things they do to Regina are rarely brazen and obvious. Most of them are subtle, clever, and nearly impossible for a teacher or principal to find the guilty party.
It was surprisingly a really good read, even given how horrified I was as I read. You may not like many of the characters, but they are very well written. You quickly get sucked into their world of bullying and popularity, where every strike needs a counterstrike.