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.
This was quite a strange book to read. It followed another of Summers' books, Cracked Up to Be, which I really liked. This book, in my opinion, wasn't quite as enjoyable. There were some excellent parts, truly excellent, but then there were others that suffered in comparison. It was a little patchy. I've been trying to figure out exactly why that is, and I'm struggling.
One area I think it might come down to is the escalating actions of the girls involved in the story. I don't want to tell you what any of those actions are, because I don't want to ruin the read for you if you decide to pick it up (and you should, despite the negative review I seem to be writing, because overall I did like it, even if that's not coming across. I'm not great at praise) but suffice it to say that there's a revenge battle going on here - Regina makes a move, her former friends retaliate, Regina comes back at them a little harder, they come back even harder. It got to a point, for me, where it stopped feeling realistic. I started to think, no real person would do that. Even if they had the idea, I'm sure they'd never go through with it. Maybe I've led a sheltered existence, I don't know, but I worry that Summers went too far.
Regina is an interesting character, though, the ousted popular girl who now has to deal with hatred from all sides instead of being feared by the entire school. Her reactions and journey are totally understandable, and I really felt for her. She lost a little sympathy by being so determined to fight back - because I was pretty sure if she'd just ignored the girls, they'd have gotten bored and moved on (so not the point, I know, but I'm one of those people who would put up with quite a lot just for an easier life) but she gained my respect when she started standing up for other people. She knows why people hate her, she understands it and knows that she deserves it, but she struggles to accept it, and it made her a compelling character to read.
I have to address the ending, because I keep reading that Summers 'doesn't do endings' and because I was critical of the one in Cracked Up to Be. This one was a lot better. It wasn't what I was expecting - although I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting - but it fit. It was...well, it was really the only sensible way for the story to end, and it was just right. A perfect fit.