Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
I fell in love with Courtney Summers when I picked up This Is Not a Test. I literally fell head over heels in love with her. I read and reviewed that novel here. I had no doubt when I had the time to pick up her other novels--I would gulp up each book in one sitting and fangirl all around the house because of how awesome she is. Friends, I cannot lie. I squeed. And squealed. And danced. And cried. I FELT ALL THE FEELS WITH THIS ONE.
From the first page to the last, I was hooked on this book. This was one of those I'm-going-to-start-a-book-and-not-do-anything-else-until-I-finish-it kind of books. I seriously started it and ONLY tore my eyes away from it when I was going to the bathroom. I read straight through and loved every single minute of this wretched (in a good way) novel. Summers has mastered the art of FEELS. What does that mean? It means that I laughed, cried, yelled, swore and threw my Kindle down because Summers wrote Regina so damn well. SO. DAMN. WELL. I loved her, I hated her. I loved to hate her and hated to love her. But I think that was the point. Reformed mean girl Regina ends up getting a taste of her own medicine. She's done her fair share of screwing up other people's lives and when it's her turn, she get's it back worse then anyone she ever messed with. This, my friends, is karma. It should be the theme of the novel. I'm just going to say it--Regina is a straight up bitch. BUT. She gets what hers and by the end of the novel--you know there is more to Regina than just being a bitch. But really, this book is horrifying in a way. It almost felt like voyerism watching the inside workings of how high school girls treat each other. It wasn't so long ago that I, myself was a high school girl. I was probably most like Michael or Liz in the novel. The kid who was nerdy, good at school and kept mostly to herself. Which made me a target for bullying. So while none of the things that happened in this novel directly happened to me, I have NO SHADOW OF A DOUBT--it can and HAS happened to a high school student at one point. Teenagers are cruel. Teenage girls are even crueler. They are the meanest of the mean and they will knock you down dead if you let them. Maybe that's why this novel affected me the way it did. Because I've been there--I've witnessed things like this. It made my stomach churn like butter when I read the things they do to each other in this novel. The way Regina feels about herself, about the other people. It makes me sad and angry. As it should. There are so many themes that run rampant in this book, it's crazy. From acceptance, forgiveness, self-realization, guilt, rape, drinking, sex and friendship. Really, it goes further than those even. Courtney Summers is the master of creating characters who make you rethink your moral compass and challenge what you thought you understood about yourself. I know a lot of people have complained that they don't like Summers' books because of the "unlikable" female characters but I have to completely disagree. I love that she doesn't make the characters nice, respectable or even friendly girls. She makes them REAL. And you know what? There really are bitchy, mean girls out there who are still human. Who still deserve compassion and love even if they haven't been the best kind of girls to give it in the first place. And that is why I respect Courtney Summers as a novelist so much.
Honestly... as much as I want to complain because I got so angry with Regina sometimes--I know that's part of how Summers wanted me to feel and I can't possibly think someone who is able to make me love all the FEELS has given me anything other than a stellar book. And that's the truth. I couldn't find anything I really didn't like about this book.
Overall, I'm in awe over this book. Complete and utter awe. I loved every moment of it and I highly recommend it. Just buy the damn book already and read it!