Courtney Summers Week: Some Girls Are

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: January 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-0312573805
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
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.

First line: Hallowell High: You’re either someone or you’re not.

I waited a couple months to read Some Girls Are. I did that because Gail told to me to wait until I could read it in one sitting, so that’s what I did. It was probably the best advice she could’ve given me. She also told me “Courtney Summers is brilliant.” I couldn’t agree with that until I read both her books. So, I carved out time and after reading SGA, I texted her and said, “Courtney Summers is brilliant.” Some Girls Are was an intense read. In the aftermath of that book I’m still not sure anything I can say will do it justice, but I will try very hard. My heart is pounding just thinking about it—which is what it did for all 256 pages.

Regina isn’t a good girl or a nice girl. She’s ruined a lot of lives. Everyone in her school fears her and her entourage, the Fearsome Five. She’s the top of the tops; she has everything. And then, one incident sends her straight to the bottom. She loses everything—including the people she called friends—and suddenly finds herself living the hell she created. The people that feared her, really hate her. She is completely alone. It’s not long until she finds herself the new target for her ex-friends. The only person who’s even willing to let her sit next to them at lunch is Michael, a boy who’s life she also ruined. Regina now has to fight for survival—and fight she will.

The story that unfolds through Some Girls Are is the ugly truth that can be high school. Regina is bullied, ignored, whispered about, tortured in every way possible—and everyone watches it happen. The others revel in the ugliness because Regina deserved it. Like in CUTB (which is 100000 times opposite of this story) Summers doesn’t hold back. She tells everything with precision and honesty and vivid details. Each day Regina goes to school and faces something new, you can only wonder if it will ever end. The Fearsome Four are relentless, pulling and poking at a girl who’s already hurting. It’s a frustrating story because you don’t want to like Regina. You want to hate her like everyone else for the things that she did but you fall for her somewhere in the story. You feel for her, connect with her and want her to be safe again, to have something good, to be redeemed.

This story is full of incredible characters, which I mean in good and bad ways. Michael ends up being one of the most remarkable male characters, a perfect example of a friend and the embodiment of forgiveness. And there’s Liz, whom I can’t even put words to.   The rest of the Fearsome Four really shape the book and when I read about them, I can picture my own people. Kara and Anna, who are talk and action, full of hatred and pain and fear, will stick with me forever. They are as real as Regina, which is sad to think about.

The thing about this story that makes me love it: it could happen. It probably has happened. It’s maybe happening as you read this. People are bullied every day. People keep secrets. People suffer. People fight back. Every teenager should read this book—heck, every single person should read it. To say this is a book about bullying wouldn’t be incorrect. But if that’s all you catch from it then you missed the point. Yes, it’s about bullies. But it’s so much more.

It’s a heart-wrenching picture of what our actions can cause. To me, it’s a chain reaction. It starts with Regina and it ends with Regina but people feel the affect of her actions and her responses long after it happens. Things that we say and do (as Regina learns) do have consequences. They affected the person she bullied and they affected her. It’s a story about truth and what it costs to stand up for it. It’s also about forgiveness. Not only forgiving others, but also forgiving yourself.

The other thing I love about this book—as well as CUTB—is the ending. I like stories that aren’t wrapped up in pretty red bows but don’t have loose ends. Life doesn’t come with pretty red bows. It comes with heartache, sadness, lost-ness, pain and mistakes, but rarely with bows. There is hope at the end of Summers stories, hope that the characters haven’t found yet but you can believe that maybe they will.

Courtney Summers is brilliant. If you haven’t read this book, you must. Some Girls Are will haunt you forever.


  1. Wow. Sounds like I should add this to my TBR pile!

    PS. I see from your sidebar that you're just as excited about seeing the new COFA cover as I am!

  2. I've been waiting to read this book until I can do it in one sitting too. Girls "freezing out" other girls is such a heart-wrenching and REAL topic. Can't wait to read it.

  3. It's really not fair that I'm completely broke from Christmas shopping because I'd be running out to get this otherwise. It is on my Christmas wishlist, so maybe I'll get lucky and get it. Either way, I will be picking it up shortly. Broke or not broke, I'll make it happen.

  4. "Courtney Summers is brilliant."
    YEP! I agree wholeheartedly.

    Enjoyed reading your review! It is a very intense book which gives the reader a glimpse into how harsh bullying can be. I'm with you when you say everyone should read it.

  5. Thanks for your review. I read CUTB, but haven't read this one yet -- definitely need to read it soon! (The ending sounds excellent -- I love when it's not a nice neat package, but still there's a glimmer of hope.)

  6. Oh I couldn't agree more with "you have to wait until you can read
    it in one sitting"

    I didn't realize I was really hooked with this book
    'till I looked at myself, and was in the shower!
    YES! IN THE SHOWER! with my hand out, of course, holding the book,
    so I could read while showering, DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD
    WITH JUST ONE HAND, well that goes to show how incredibly
    awesome this book is,

    and yes, it will haunt you forever

  7. This book is awesome and so was your review :) This book is intense. I found myself covering my eyes at some of the things that Regina did/ had to go through. And then I'd peek through them like a little kid watching a scary movie because not reading it in one sitting was simply not an option


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