Overview: Rebel Bully Geek Pariah
Rebel Bully Geek Pariah brings together high school classmates who would never be seen together at school. Sam, the Pariah, has become very good at being invisible, which has been necessary due to bullying she’s endured over the scars on her head. Andi, former Barbie, current Rebel, drags Sam along with her to a party after shoplifting an item Sam was trying to buy back from a pawn shop. At the party, they run into Jock York and Geek Boston, brothers who struggle with their differing popularities and pressure from their parents.
While Sam thinks of ways to steal her mother’s prized violin back from Andi, the police arrive to bust up the party. As the four classmates try to escape, things go horribly wrong and they’re forced to flee together. While spending the night trying to decide their next move, the four distressed teens open up to each other about their deepest darkest fears.
I originally heard of this book when it was being compared to The Breakfast Club. It certainly has a similar plot of high school kids from different social strata bonding under duress, but it didn’t quite have the same magic. Maybe when TBC came out, high school stereotypes hadn’t yet proliferated YA media as it has now, but all the characters in Rebel Bully Geek Pariah seemed like the usual boring stereotypes. Lange tried to give them some more deep, traumatic backgrounds, which came off as desperate and melodramatic. It’s like we’ve gotten to the point where even twists on teen stereotypes have become stereotypes in and of themselves.
I expected to be on the edge of my seat as the teens try to evade danger, but I never got that feeling of suspense and dread. Likewise, I found the teens opening up to each other and forming bonds to be super cheesy instead of heartwarming. The book lacked actual depth which made it hard to invest in. It’s an easy read, but seems better suited for 7th/8th grade than older YA readers.
Rating: 3 out of 5 violins