A Review of Rebel Bully Geek Pariah, by Erin Jade Lange

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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.

– – – – –

3.5 Stars
Quick Reasons: action-packed plot; lots of built-up backstory and character growth; some parts were very hard to “believe”; nice nod at a “first romance”; awesome tale of finding friendship in the most unlikely places; overall enjoyed this read

Huge thanks go out to Erin Jade Lange, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Netgalley for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my reading of or opinions on this book.

When I first found out there was going to be a modern-day “retake” on The Breakfast Club, I squealed and danced and celebrated. I LOVE that movie (actually, I love any movies with the Brat Pack in them) and I immediately knew I needed to read the book. So when I stumbled upon it on Netgalley, it only took me about 2 seconds to hit the “request” button. Let me tell you, I think I celebrated even louder when I found out I’d been approved an eARC! Happy, happy days—I was going to read one of my most anticipated books for 2016!

I closed my eyes, wishing the thought away. It happened like that sometimes: one bad memory bleeding into the next, as if my past were a patchwork quilt of ugly moments and I was chasing the seams, trying to find an exit but only bumping into new patches, new memories.

I was hyped going into this read, but ultimately feel a bit let down. The characters are pretty great—like the movie, they take on the same traits, though in vastly different ways. I really enjoyed the perspective—having the story come from the pariah, instead of one of the others, really helped to show that friendships are often found in the most unlikely places, especially during moments we’re not seeking them out. I would have liked, I think, to know a little more about the other characters—while we get snippets of their lives (the infamous heart-to-heart is replayed several times in this novel), we only really know Sam’s whole story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s powerful, and it’s a decent glimpse into why she is who she is/acts the way she does… But the rest of the crew sort of fall “flat” for me. While I cared about the story, I wasn’t invested in the characters as much as I hoped I’d be.

There’s also quite a few moments I found myself questioning the author. There are a lot of unbelievable plotlines and loopholes used throughout that I found almost unnecessary to the story. It was hard for me to get into the story…because I didn’t fully BELIEVE in the story being crafted around me. While it’s true something like this wild night could happen, I just… I had a very hard time feeling convinced when it came to certain plot twists or reveals. A lot of times, it felt more like a ruse to keep the story going than an actual part of the story.

I know in this moment that I’m stronger than Mama. And not because I don’t cry, but because after everything life has thrown at us—or, more accurately, after everything Mama has thrown at our lives—I’m not so breakable. Mama is glass that shatters too easily. I am stone that doesn’t crack easily enough.

The different levels of character growth, on the other hand, are astounding and so easy to believe. The characters, while a bit flat overall, go through a lot of terrifying, life-altering drama during the course of this book…and they all come out changed in drastic, awesome ways. I had a ton of fun watching these characters interact, grow, and relate—comparing their before and after personalities is almost mind-bending, how far they’ve come!

The plot twist near the end was also well-done. While I’d had suspicions early on, they were waylaid by the story and a bit of red-herring. While I wouldn’t claim to have been shocked speechless by the big reveal, I definitely hadn’t been expecting it. The ending, also, wasn’t what I was expecting going in—I LOVE how the famous “Breakfast Club” letter is reshaped and molded into something different for this read. It works, and it works effectively. The twist there was also surprising—and more pleasant and unexpected than the previous one.

“I think maybe you’re nicer than you let people see,” I finally said. I looked down the line at my partners in crime. Their faces were all the same as they were less than twenty-four hours ago, but they were somehow changed, too. “But maybe we’re all something a little different than we let people see.”

Overall, this modern-day retelling is entertaining, and it’s easy to see where the influences of the original content came into play. I had a ton of fun reading this, though I also had some issues with things like believability and character-love. I’d recommend to lovers of fast-paced action, slap-hazard but immediate friendships, and “coming into oneself” stories. This is a great redo of an older classic; hats off to Erin Jade Lange for a pretty great read!

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4 thoughts on “A Review of Rebel Bully Geek Pariah, by Erin Jade Lange

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post (#2) | betwixt-the-pages

  2. Pingback: January Wrap-Up – betwixt-the-pages

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