Thursday, March 24, 2016
Rebel Bully Geek Pariah
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is a book I wanted to read after seeing a reference to The Breakfast Club. Yes, I was skeptical, but the idea of four high schoolers who are thrown together to survive a crazy night appealed to me. Four high schoolers who are about as different as you can be. Sam is the POV and she wants nothing more than to stay out of sight and not be noticed- her mother is a recovering drug addict and has been in and out of prison, and Sam's life has been a mess as a result. A chance encounter with Andi, a dreadlocked former popular girl leads to a party that is rousted by the cops, and together with York and Boston (two brothers who are total opposites) they find themselves suddenly on the run from police and in for the night of their lives.
Like I said I was cautiously optimistic but skeptical at the same time. I can say however that this one worked for me and I'm glad I read it. Is the Breakfast Club comparison apt? Actually it is - some of the same touching moments are here as four young people who have nothing in common are forced together and find that maybe they're not so different after all. This is no detention though- the stakes are a little higher here involving cops that may be crooked and some decisions they make that could have serious consequences. It's a fast paced story and and strikes a nice balance between thriller and coming of age story.
It's funny at times too. Sam is likable enough and I felt for her with everything she's been through. Andi the former queen bee has a lot of issues and over time we find out what has caused her star to fall, while York and Boston are a former football player and a geek younger brother respectively. York has a little depth and I felt the author did a good job bringing him to life while Boston didn't work as well for me- I found him a little irritating, the only one of the four that I didn't really care for. Still the dynamics between the four of them are compelling, and while this story is a bit unrealistic I still enjoyed it a lot.
There's a sequence roughly in the middle of the book where the four of them are spending time together as they plan their next move, and I thought it was really well done. I already enjoyed it for the thriller aspect but the characterizations there cemented my admiration for the book. I cared about these characters (except maybe for Boston) and I loved how they stuck together- they chose each other when the chips were down. There's a scene at the end of The Breakfast Club where these diverse personalities have become friends- and I got that same feeling from this book.