Friday, February 5, 2016

ARC Review: Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

Title: Rebel Bully Geek Pariah
Author: Erin Jade Lange
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Source: ARC from Bloomsbury
The Breakfast Club gets a modern, high-stakes reboot in this story of four very different teens and a night that changes them forever.

The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked, tattooed wild child.
The Bully: York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The Geek: Tired of being bullied, Boston is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League college.
The Pariah: Choosing to be invisible has always worked for Sam . . . until tonight.

When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive.

With cinematic storytelling and compelling emotional depth, critically acclaimed author Erin Jade Lange takes readers on literary thrill ride.

My Review

When I first saw the synopsis for Erin Jade Lange's Rebel Bully Geek Pariah, I was drawn to it because of three simple words - The Breakfast Club. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the classic 80s film, so of course I was a little curious to see if this book really lived up to one of my favorite movies ever. While there are similarities, between this novel and The Breakfast Club, I don't know if I'd personally call this a "reboot" of the legendary film. The book is good, but comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges.

First things first... let's get to that comparison to the legendary John Hughes film. I did say there were some similarities, and I'm sure that many fans of the movie are wandering what they are. The synopsis has you covered for this one, so you don't have to look far. Four teens who wouldn't be caught dead together find themselves in a situation they can't get away from. Throughout their journey, they learn things about one another that they never knew, and they come out of it as friends. Sound similar? 

But this isn't a Saturday detention in the library! Instead of paying for their crimes by sitting in detention all day, these four teens - Sam, Andi, Boston, and York - are on the run and committing crimes! Is the plot realistic? Probably not. It's probably not all that plausible either. But for me, it was entertaining and I was on the edge of my seat. I often found myself reading chapter after chapter after chapter just to see what happened, and before I knew it, I was through most of the book. So while I don't think I'll ever come across a group of teenage vigilantes, at least I can say that Erin Jade Lange knows how to write a truly captivating story.

The characters in Rebel Bully Geek Pariah are what you think they'd be, but they are also so much more than just their social standing. 

Readers will meet the pariah, Sam, first. After a tragic accident, she's tried to make herself as invisible as possible, hiding behind hats and staying out of the way. So much has happened to her in her young life, and it's hard not to feel bad for her, but somehow, she finds a way to stay strong throughout all that adversity. I think readers will admire her strength. Then there's the rebel. The once popular Andi has traded in her signature Queen Bee appearance for dreadlocks and tattoos. She's tough. She's a criminal. But readers will discover that there's still a soft side to her. The geek of our story is brainiac Boston. He's Ivy League bond, and if it weren't for his bully of a brother York, he would have never been at the party to begin with. It's interesting to see how these two interact, especially because they are so different, but I really do feel like Lange portrayed a realistic brotherly relationship. Obviously there are some personality twists like in The Breakfast Club, and I don't want to spoil them for you. I can say that I really did like how Lange developed these characters and how they evolved throughout the novel.

There were a few things about the book that bothered me, but they mostly just had to do with the flow and continuity of the novel. I think the biggest thing for me were the random breaks in the book to reflect on things that happened before and after the epic night that Sam, Andi, Boston, and York spend together. I liked their addition and meaning to the story, especially the "after" teaser that worked as a prologue, but I really think that these sections of the book could have been either eliminated or tacked on as final chapters.

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah is a novel that fans of YA thrillers will enjoy, but I also think it will appeal to any reader who just wants a fast-paced novel with a hell of a story. I didn't expect to like this novel as much as I did, but I'm so glad that I read it. It introduced me to some memorable characters, and I'm pretty sure that this novel will stick with me for a while.

Erin writes facts by day and fiction by night. As a journalist, she is inspired by current
events and real-world issues and uses her writing to explore how those issues impact teenagers.

She is an only child, so she spent a lot of time entertaining herself as a kid. This required her to rely heavily on her own imagination, which is probably why she became a writer.

Erin grew up in the cornfields of northern Illinois, along the Mississippi River in one of the few places it flows east to west. She now lives in the sunshine of Arizona and will forever be torn between her love of rivers and her love of the desert.

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