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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.
My heartbeat slows to nothing and then, when I’m sure I’m dead, it thumps once. Twice. Three times. Steady and even. I’m still here. I get to ten beats and then it beats faster-twenty, faster, thirty, faster, forty. Do something do something do something.
Just…..just. Wow. And, ya know, I had never even read a book by this author two weeks ago and now I like…worship her. Every word has gravity to it. Every sentence is a slap in the face. Each page is more shocking than the last. And it’s all so damn simple. There’s no grand use of metaphors shoved down our throats and there aren’t poetic verses on every other page….no. It’s all about the build-up. She builds these simple, every day moments and builds and builds and builds and then all of a sudden you can’t breathe and you’re frantically reading the pages trying to see what happens next and then Boom. It’s so fucking simple. But that’s Courtney Summers, I’ve come to find: She’s the silent killer.
He’s as bad as me, and Kara’s as bad as me, and I’m as bad as Anna, who killed all the things that were good about me before they got the chance to do any good.
I was so excited to write this review and now I’m at a loss for words. How in the world can I do this book justice? It’s not like we’ve never seen the mean girl act before-petty lies, jealousies, fights, and, ultimately, a big misunderstanding. But this is so different. And it doesn’t seem like it should be, ya know? We’re in this girl’s head, Regina’s, and she used to be best friend to the queen bee. What an honor. But then one fateful night at a party, best friend Anna’s scumbag boyfriend decides he wants to get handsy with Regina-violently handsy. I am going to rape you if you don’t say yes, handsy. So when a narrowly avoided escape from a tragic event becomes a vicious, nasty rumor gone wrong, Regina finds herself on the outside of the fearsome five….and their newest target.
We’re the kind of popular that parents like to pretend doesn’t exist so they can sleep at night, and we’re the kind of popular that makes our peers unable to sleep at night.
Think about this a moment, will you? Top of the food chain. Four years of torturing those less than you, those that are afraid of you when you pass them in the halls…and then reverse that completely. All of a sudden you’re afraid to turn the wrong corner and see the wrong people. Every time you turn around you’re getting pushed down the stairs, locked in closets, your things are getting ruined repeatedly-and you never know when the prank will go too far and you won’t be able to recover from it.
When I’m done, I feel empty, but only for a second. Because I get it; I do. I get why Anna was my best friend. Why I couldn’t be friends with Liz and why I couldn’t save her and why I couldn’t eat. Why Kara hates me. Why Michael can’t be around me. Kara lost the weight. It didn’t matter. Same school, same teachers, same classmates, same friends. No chance.
I absolutely ADORED this story. It was SO fun to be on the other side of the token, to be on the inside of a former mean girl’s head. We got to see the vicious side of wanting cold, calculated revenge. She isn’t some girl they are just now deciding to start hazing, she was actually a part of that group-so she knows all the tricks….and she isn’t afraid to use them when they shove too hard. And this is what I loved so much: She wasn’t afraid to be a bitch. She wasn’t afraid to fight dirty. And I wanted her to. I wanted to see her scrape and claw and rip their hair out. I became immediately engrossed and invigorated when she would ‘push back’ and show those bitches what she’s really made of….she’s no delicate flower-that’s for certain. I don’t know what that says about me, either.
In high school, you don’t get to change. You only get to walk variations of the same lines everyone has already drawn for you.
So I should just make the best of it.
I think my favorite part of this story, though, was Michael. Everything to do with Michael, I was a mess. Not only because he was a sudden love interest, though I loved that as well, but because of how the mighty had fallen. Michael-the new kid from years ago who’s reputation she ruined. Michael-the loner who doesn’t care what people think of him. Micheal-the kid who is now an outcast and sits alone at lunch in the back of the cafeteria. Michael…the only friend she might have.
And I think that’s what made this such a finely layered story. Regina was so mean to others because Anna TOLD her to be, and now that she’s on the outside looking in, she has no one to turn to. It was so beyond fascinating to be inside her head and to see how she handled being invisible to everyone socially and to be on the receiving end of vicious rumors and threats. I loved seeing her progression from indifference to fighting back to utter obsession over what’s being said and how she can exact revenge on anyone and everyone that wrongs her. But, even more than that, I loved seeing that vulnerable girl who was sensitive and just wanted a friend.
Hell, I loved Michael. Big shocker there-Summers creates the coolest guys. And Michael didn’t make it easy. I loved that, too. Some days he didn’t even let her sit at the table. But here’s the kicker-he was always there for her. He was a silent defender and friend when she was humiliated or hurt in front of the whole school, he showed up when she needed him most….but he couldn’t fully give himself to her. She was cruel, vindictive, and judgemental without even knowing him, so he wasn’t about to fall for her act just because she was lonely…but what if it wasn’t an act at all? What if she really and truly enjoyed his company? And, worst of all, what would she do when her sudden interest in him explodes in colorful fireworks on the fearsome five’s radar? What would she do to protect him? It nearly tore my heart out of my chest.
Some people will never give up on their lack of belief in you. I’m used to that feeling, but for the first time ever, it hurts.
Lastly, I have to say this: This book was so epic that I. Never. Once. Checked. To see what percentage I was at. NEVER. It was so engrossing, addicting, and mind-boggling that I didn’t even think while I read! I always check because I’m always ready for the next book I’m going to read. But not this one-My mind was fully immersed in the story and nothing else mattered. I loved our main character so much it was a visceral, deep feeling and her life became my life and….well, you get the picture.
Venomous, tortuous, and pulse-pounding, this subtle book sneaks up on you and sinks it’s claws into your soul. I swear, if you pick this up, you won’t be putting it down any time soon-I started it at lunch on Sunday, just wanting to get a sneak peek, and I was HOOKED. Dinner plans??? Lets rush ’em, because this book was all I could think about. The Oscars? Who needs ’em!! I am READING AN EXCELLENT BOOK that has taken over my body. I don’t know why I’d never read anything by Courtney Summers before, but after This is Not a Test and now this one, I will forever be a fan. I can’t get enough and I will shove her books in other people’s faces like a deranged drug pusher from now until the end of time-I’ve succeeded with a few of my friends….now onto the rest of them.
5 brutal, menacing, tortuous, evil-little-bitch stars
Seriously. I AM SO STOKED AND EXCITED TO WRITE THIS REVIEW IT ROOOOOOOOCKSSS!!! ♥