Author: Erin Jade Lange
Published: February 16 2016
Source: publishers for review
"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.
I can see why this novel is being compared to The Breakfast Club, but whereas that movie was an edgy but mundane contemporary coming-of-age, this story about a group of misfit teens is more in the vein of a contemporary thriller with a side of coming-of-age themes. Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah was actiontastic, it was twisty, and it had some really well drawn characters. Some of the plot's twists and reveals are just a leeeeetle too far outside my realm of believability (hence the 3.75/5) but on the whole this was a fast-paced, quick, involving read.
The characters, for all that they're outright labelled into archetypes by the title, have quite a bit depth to them. This story is told in just one POV -- the Pariah from the title -- , but all the characters are pretty well represented and defined into distinguishable people. They are all pretty three dimensional and diverse. I'm trying to not spoil anything in the novel but yeah, I knew that a character was definitely not straight from the small hints and allusions. On one hand, I can see why the author is going to make it a "reveal" or twist but I was it was more explicit in the text.
The novel does stretch the basic premise out over the course of the relatively few hours the story covers. I did not anticipate the myriad twists the author had in store but there's only so much real plot to be found. I wasn't bored by TGBP but the social points had been made, the action had appeared numerous times, etc; the ending came at just the right time and at a smooth pace. The rather open-ended nature of the book appealed to me as well, thought it might not for most; it fit both the narrative structure and the movie that influenced the character and plot.
Of the three Erin Jade Lange novels I've read this is by far her most polished and well-rounded effort. Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah explores high school ideas and stereotypes in unexpected but smart ways with distinct, diverse, and memorable bunch of characters.