When I saw Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange on Netgalley, I wanted to read it immediately. The Breakfast Club meets Breaking Bad? Sign me up! I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Sam has not had an easy life. Her mother has been in and out of jail, and Sam does her best to stay invisible. She doesn’t need the scrutiny of her peers. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she ends up at a party in the woods with Andi. At one point, Andi was one of the popular girls, but now she avoids her old friends. When the party is broken up by the police, Sam and Andi find themselves in the company of brothers York and Boston. York is an athlete and a bully, and his brother Boston wants to go to an Ivy League school. In their efforts to avoid the police, this unlikely quartet inadvertently steals a car full of drugs. Now they have to figure out what to do without incriminating themselves.
The entire story takes place over the course of a very long evening, and is interspersed with flashbacks. Sam, the “pariah” of the group, serves as narrator. It might have been interesting to see everyone’s perspective; one of the main themes of the book is how everyone’s choices led them to be together in the woods. Just like the kids in The Breakfast Club, these teens would never have interacted socially, but circumstances have thrust them into a partnership. Over the course of the evening, the group debates what they should do, and secrets from the past are revealed.
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah kept me riveted. I found myself reading faster because I wanted to find out what was going to happen. Friendship does not come automatically, and they each have every reason to distrust each other. This is the sort of book that would make a really fun movie; the vivid action scenes are easy to visualize.
I would absolutely recommend Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah to young adult readers and fans of the genre. I have not read any of Erica Jade Lange’s other books, but my interest has been piqued, and I am looking forward to adding them to my list.