Climbing to the top of the school ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Five, an all-girl clique feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High...that is, until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend started 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 whom she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for the 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.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 64/70
Obtained: Borrowed from a friend (thanks) :)
Age Appropriate? R
Cursing: Quite a bit.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Many, many references to and scenes of teen drinking, drunkenness, and heavy drug use.
Sexual Content: Yes. Lots of it in conversation as well as some scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Near-rape scenarios, extreme teenage cruelty and bullying, eating disorders, depression
Intense. That's how I would describe this book. Just that -- intense. It wasn't really what I expected, and by the synopsis I would have imagined something gooey with high school cliches and a predictable plot, followed by miraculous self-discovery and healing through love and forgiveness. Ha. But no. This book defies all stereotypes, removes girls from that Mean Girls setting and into something a lot darker, a lot more evil, a lot more realistic.
It was hard to read. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has a certain painful tone to it that is slightly sickening, but so fascinating. From the beginning, every page brings a new horror, another added complication that makes you go, Oh my god, how can this ever be solved? Until the very final page, the whole book is building and building and building into a frenzy of a climax and a cathartic, simple, un-fairy-tale resolution(ish). It was a perfect end.
The characters are perfect -- they're cruel, they're sick, they're a product of their environment. They're high school kids who want more. The thing is, these things exist. They happen, no matter how twisted they are. But beyond being a statement about how animal and cruel girls can be to each other, how messed up high school can be, this is a book about people creating and overcoming problems that seem larger than life, and learning to heal and forgive along the way.