Audiobook Review: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Some Girls AreTitle: Some Girls Are

Author: Courtney Summers

Narrator: Katie Schorr

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Interest: Author / Contemporary

Release Date: July 11, 2011 (audio format), January 5, 2010 (paperback)

Source: Purchased audio via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): 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.

Audio Review:

I have more to say about the actual book than the audio, so this portion of the review will be short.  Overall, I liked it.  It’s not the best audio performance I’ve listened to, but it’s still good.  I don’t want that part of the review, however, to keep anyone from reading the book.  Katie Schorr is a good choice for Regina, but she isn’t as talented at changing her voice for different characters.  Considering the amount of character interaction in Some Girls Are, this became an issue for me because I had a hard time distinguishing when Regina was talking and when, say, Michael or Kara were speaking.  I also don’t know if this is the best choice for audio because of how clipped some of the narration and dialogue are.  I think hearing it, as opposed to seeing it, took away from the effect the clipped, sparse lines were supposed to have.  I recommend reading Some Girls Are traditionally over listening to it.

Book Review:

Courtney Summers is an author who deserves more attention and more of a fan base because she is seriously talented.  I still have to read This is Not a Drill, but I’ve read all three of her other books and in each one she develops characters who are both hard and easy to like.  Regina is the epitome of this.  I did not want to like Regina or feel sorry for her because to some degree she doesn’t deserve pity.  She’s not a nice person–at all.  But I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her because she is treated horribly by Anna, Kara, and all of her old “friends.”  Still, Regina doesn’t completely learn from this because the cycle continues as Regina retaliates and is equally brutal.  It’s alarming how much this hate spreads from person to person in the book.  It’s alarming because this actually happens outside of books.

At times, I wondered what else could possibly happen to Regina.  What more were Anna, Kara, and the rest going to do to her?  How was the story going to end?  But it still went on.  Summers creates this slow, bubbling of brutality on every page.  One question I kept asking myself is “Where are Regina’s parents?”  They are so completely oblivious and out of the picture, it’s sickening.  I want to say it’s unrealistic, but I know that’s  not true.  I can’t tell you how many times I started saying things out loud to Regina like, “Tell your principal!”  These characters are ruthless and horrible and need to be punished by an adult.

I know Regina isn’t forthcoming with her parents because she is embarrassed, but I’m not completely sure why she doesn’t go to another adult or principal or something.  Yes, she fears retaliation, but I think she also fears that no one will believe her.  It’s messed up that we preach against bullying, yet there’s still this fear that no one will believe it when someone accuses another of bullying, especially when the bully is a “good kid.”  I have a lot of say about the reason why Regina is thrown from the group, and I’m not sure if I should say because it’s slightly spoilery, but it’s also right at the beginning of the book, but I’m saving those thoughts for another post I’m currently drafting.  Anyway, Some Girls Are brings up so much about school culture that needs to be addressed and changed.

I’m simply not doing this book justice, but it’s a book that needs to be read and discussed with other people who have read it.  It’s hard to write a review for it because there are so many layers and feelings to discuss.  I hope you read it.  I hope you read all of Courtney Summers’ books.

Similar Books: Speechless by Hannah Harrington, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

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