September 07, 2010

Cracked Up To Be and Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers


With these two books (#34 and #35) I definitely took a look at the dark side of teenage girls.  But - I am so sheltered.  Do girls really push each other down flights of stairs?  Or lock a girl into a utility closet with the guy who had previously attempted to rape her?  Like, as a lark?

The beginning of Cracked Up to Be starts:
Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars -- every day, a turf war -- six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out.  But everything you do here counts.
Sounds... almost like it might be a fun book?  Not so fun, really.  In both books, we have a popular girl who faces a horrific event (friend goes missing, attempted rape...) and who pays the price by losing her status with the In Crowd, enduring pretty awful treatment thereafter.  That's a pretty simplistic plot summary, but I don't want to ruin the stories.   It's not "Mean Girls" camp, either.  It's physical violence, overdosing, psychiatric evaluations, emotionally absent parents.

I thought both of these books were really good.  Protagonists generally well-formed, complex situations where nothing is black and white.  Definitely worth reading.  I know they're not non-fiction works, but I felt they were probably realistic.  Sure put my own (comparatively pain-free) high school experience into perspective.

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