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 were 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 whom 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.
TW: rape, sexual assault, victim blaming, suicidal thoughts
I went into this book with some really high hopes. Boy was I wrong. I normally don’t like to write super negative reviews, but I just have to so much to say on this one, because it was so disappointing.
The premise of this book is Regina has been raped by her best friends boyfriend, and the rumour goes around that she consented to this. So, she’s a horrible friend, he’s a cheating bastard, etc. She does tell her best friend that she was raped, and the friend laughs in her face. And then proceeds to bully her for the entire book. Oh, and Regina’s boyfriend also dumps her and hates her now. So, great start.
Regina is a horrible person. There is nothing likeable about her as a character. And she has a running inner dialogue about how that means she deserves this? Like it’s some sort of karma? It’s so awful to read, the idea that anyone could possibly deserve something like this. In saying that, it made it hard to care. Yes, it was a horrible situation, but why would I want to read a book about it? She bullied that entire school, she was awful. She tried to blame it on (now ex) best friend, but no. There’s no excuse for some of the stuff she did.
The bullying she was getting in return, though, was so extreme, to the point that it didn’t seem realistic at all. They were locking her in cupboards all over the school, throwing stuff out of her locker, and even started a page called “I hate Regina.” And all the while Regina is trying to remind them that she didn’t cheat, she was literally raped! She is a victim! These bullies were just evil, so exaggerated that it ruined all the realism for me.
And last but not least, the romance plot. With a boy she had previously bullied. Who kind of still hated her for that. As did his best friend, who was suicidal due to what Regina did to her. But it’s fine, because they just had that spark, y’know? And who are we to say no to love? The romance is pretty obvious from when they first start talking, but I still hoped against hope that it wasn’t going to happen. It made no sense. He felt sorry for her for what had happened, which I did love, but I still don’t think that should cancel out all the evil she did before. These things are unrelated, aren’t they? Why did that make him forgive her?
In summary, I’m angry. I really had hope for this book, and I’m left so disappointed.