Rebel Bully Geek Pariah definitely surprised me. It was a lot more thriller and adventure than I was expecting given the comparison to The Breakfast Club, although that’s my own fault for not paying close attention to the synopsis.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
“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.
Erin Jade Lange’s newest book features a unique cast of characters, each with their own attitude and motivations. Sam is the pariah, a daughter who has spent far too much time visiting her drug-addict mother in jail over the years. Andi is the rebel, the popular girl who’s now doing her own thing without caring what people think – including things like shoplifting. Boston is the geek, a smart guy who gets caught up in an unfortunate situation. York is the bully, an athlete who’s not known for being the nicest guy. When a high school party goes bad, these four end up on the run from some rogue cops. The stakes are high and lives are on the line.
Rebel Bully Geek Pariah is fast-paced and will keep your heart racing until the very end. Told through Sam’s point of view, her night on the run is interspersed with moments from “Before” and “After” her adventure. The reader learns about Sam’s mother and her difficult past and even though there are some ill-advised decisions made during the course of the book, you want to root for her to end up in a better place.
I enjoyed how Lange made each of the four characters relatable in their own ways, so even though they may not all be people I would naturally gravitate towards, I had reason to feel connected to them when they were in a reckless situation. Sam, Andi, Boston, and York aren’t just the rebel, bully, geek, or pariah; we learn about their backstories and they come to feel much more human than the labels imply. That’s where The Breakfast Club comparison is definitely on point.
The crazy night these four have is one I would never like to experience myself – living vicariously through Lange’s novel is enough for me! There are some crazy twists and I recommend not reading this book too late at night – you might not be able to sleep after the intensity of Rebel Bully Geek Pariah!
While a few of the twists are foreseeable, overall Rebel Bully Geek Pariah is a fresh new YA thriller. It’s a relatively quick read and I recommend it for fans of contemporary mystery/thrillers.