When I first read the synopsis for Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah, I knew it was going to be a must read for me, especially when it was compared to The Breakfast Club. Since I discovered that years ago, I’ve watched it countless times and it never gets old. So I was pretty darn excited about this book. Also, let me say, yes, this book really did remind me of a more modern day Breakfast Club. I was not let down by that at all – it was exactly what I was hoping it would be.
The cover for this one is nicely done, too – I love the whole name tag thing going on there, and it fits so well, especially since none of the four characters have ever really interacted with each other before, and they don’t know each other all that greatl. It’s always great when a book cover is designed to really fit with the book, instead of something random that has no relation to the plot.
To start the book, we are introduced to our main character, Sam. Sam has had a hard life, with an addict for a mother and no idea where her father is (or even who he is, since her mother was a musician and made some choices that weren’t exactly great). Sam’s mother has been to jail and prison multiple times and for multiple reasons – most of them involving drugs and alcohol. Now her mother is almost four years sober, and Sam is trying to buy back her violin – something that she sold at a pawn shop back when she needed money for drugs. Sam has been working very hard at her job to save up enough money to buy it back, and when she gets to the pawn shop, she realizes she doesn’t have enough – and that’s where she meets Andi.
Andi used to be a really popular girl (also mean), and she spent her time with the rest of the popular girls, doing the mean things that popular girls often do. One day, she was replaced as the “queen bee” by another girl – and showed up wearing an army jacket with her hair in dreadlocks. No one really knew the full story as to what happened there, but they do know that Andi is pretty much a loner now. When Sam meets Andi at the pawn shop, and she takes the violin, Sam is appalled at her theft, but wants the violin badly, so she runs out after Andi in order to get it. She follows her to a party in the woods, which ends up getting busted by cops, and they meet up with York, the school bully, and Boston, the school’s geek.
It would also seem that York and Boston are brothers. And yes, their names really are York and Boston. I’ll admit, when I first read that, I wondered if that was for real, but it totally is.
When the cops bust the party, the four of them steal an SUV and try to get away, but it isn’t as easy as they would think – they end up hitting a cop with the SUV, and once they flee the scene, they realize that the cops who busted the party weren’t all really who they said they were – and that SUV they stole? It definitely didn’t belong to someone at the party. Also, there’s an interesting surprise in the back of the SUV that they aren’t really sure what they are going to do with. Little by little, as the night goes on and they try to figure out how to handle the mess they got themselves into, they learn each other’s stories – most of them pretty heartbreaking.
The writing in this book was so easy to get into – I read it in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down. It was a fun read – but it was also kind of sad at points, especially when you start learning about each of the character’s backgrounds.
I had a difficult time connecting to Sam’s character, and as she was the main character in the book, I was a little disappointed. The decisions that she and the other kids made were downright stupid (I’m not even going to sugarcoat that), and it seemed as if they had no regard for their safety or their future. Boston was absolutely annoying, but for some reason, that seemed kind of fitting, so it didn’t really bother me. Andi’s character was perfectly done, in my opinion…as was York’s.
The ending was a bit of a twist…I didn’t see it coming, and that made the book that much better. I did find the last part of the book (like the last chapter, actually) to be kind of cheesy in that 80’s movie kind of way (Breakfast Club, indeed), but all in all it was quite enjoyable and one that I could see myself picking up again when I feel the need to read something fast paced and fun.
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.