Hello, epic people!
Welcome to the first discussion post for month two of the Courtney Summers Read-Along! I apologize for having to postpone the discussion post last week (I talked about why here). This week you're going to get a double whammy because we're going to discuss the first two sections of SOME GIRLS ARE (pages 1 - 124)!
Don't know what the Courtney Summers Read-Along is? Check out this post!
*WARNING: Spoilers for pages 1 - 124 of SOME GIRLS ARE*
As I picked this book up for the second time, I kept telling myself it wouldn't be that bad. Yes, I know all the horrible things that happen in this book. Yes, I know just how much this book affected me the first time I read it. But, it can't be that bad. I must just be remembering it worse than it is. I was wrong, of course. I always knew I would be.
SOME GIRLS ARE starts off with few very powerful scenes. How did you guys react to them? The attempted rape scene with Donnie and Regina is thoroughly disturbing and really horrifies me every time I read it. Summers' doesn't try to shock you with description, but rather focuses on Regina's thoughts. It is so much more stunning and impacting that way. Flash forward a bit to another impacting scene which is the first of many scenes in the girls bathroom. Anna won't believe Regina. Won't even listen to Regina despite the fact that they're "best friends". To do so, would give Regina power and Anna just won't do that. Then Kara enters and things get worse. It's gut-wrenching reading how hurt and scared Regina is and it makes me livid that Kara has done something that horrible. I just want to scream when I read it. What did you guys think?
Something I think Summers' really displays well in SOME GIRLS ARE is the power of silence. There are so many instances where if someone had just said something things could have gotten better. Regina stayed silent about Donnie's attempted rape which really started this whole story (although, it was Kara's selfish and twisted advice that made her stay quiet). Many people stay silent, or even help with Regina's bullying and in the past with Michael and Liz's torment. Everyone is too afraid to stand up for these people even though, by staying silent, they are helping the situation. What do you think about the silence in this situation? How do you think this book would be different if people would stand up for Regina?
Regina Afton, as is typical in a Courtney Summers book, is not your regular protagonist. She isn't nice. She's not kind, and sweet, and the kind of person you'd want to be best friends with. She is a bully and we see early on just what kind of terrible things she has done in the past. But, does that make her unlikable? Does that mean she "deserves" what happens to her? One of my favorite lines in this book happens right where we ended off for part one. Regina says "Tell Liz, the mean girl totally got what she deserved in the end" and Michael responses with "Nobody deserves that". And it's true. Nobody deserves to have someone try and rape them. Nobody deserves being tormented like that. It doesn't matter what they've done in the past, nobody deserves to be treated like that. I think that scene is so powerful because Michael, a guy who has been bullied by Regina in the past, knows that it doesn't matter what she has done, she still doesn't deserve what's happening to her.
Now, let's talk about the mean girls in this situation: Anna and Kara. Anybody else feel like reaching in the book and just punching them clear across the face? Cause I know I sure do at times. Anna is vicious for sport. She seems to take pleasure in destroying other people, no matter how "close" she apparently was with them. The bullying orchestrated by her is horrible and makes me almost sick to read about. Then there's Kara. Who is, in a way, worse than Anna. Kara may not be the mastermind behind these attacks, but she gives Anna her power. Everyone in that school, as a matter of fact, gives Anna her power. By saying nothing. By doing nothing. By even participating in these cruel acts. If nobody listened to Anna, she would just be one girl against a sea of people. But people do, Kara worst of all. Yes, Kara had to face some horrible bullying herself. But, does that give her the right to attack other people? Does she have a right to revenge? I don't think so. It definitely does not give her the right to spread the rumor that Regina slept with Donnie when she knows he tried to rape her. It's sickening. How can people be that cruel?
I've heard one negative thing about SOME GIRLS ARE which is that it's unrealistic. That girls aren't that mean. And I have to vehemently disagree with this. I wish I didn't, but when I turn on the news everyday and see another story about a kid being bullied to death, I realize just how real these situations are. I was bullied as a kid (never to this extreme, thank goodness) and I know exactly what it does to you. By saying that things like this "just don't happen" we are being unrealistic and silent. What do you guys think? Did you find the bullying Regina faces to be too extreme? Or did you think, as horrific as it is, that it's the harsh reality some kids have to face?
Now that we've gone through some of the harsher parts of the book, let's talk about Michael. As soon as he was described as "Unstable Emo Writer Boy" I knew I was going to love him. I love that he isn't perfect. He is pretty angry about what Regina has done to him (understandably so) and doesn't let her off the hook. But, unlike Anna and Kara, he actually has a heart. He isn't unnecessarily cruel, but defensive and hurt. His relationship with Regina is filled with grudges, and bullying, and assumptions, and this twisted kind of caring. They have an odd connection to each other through Michael's deceased mother, and it brings then together in a special way. He adds this little bit of hope in an otherwise desolate situation. That, just maybe, there's a chance for redemption, forgiveness, and happiness for these destroyed characters.
I know I've missed a few things (but this post was getting way too long!) so I'll end it here for now. How have you guys reacted to the book so far? Has it wrecked you like it wrecked me? Tell me what you think!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)