In the most unexpected times, you read some books that remind you exactly why you love the written word. The Revenge Playbook was exactly that type of a book to me. It makes me so, so proud to welcome you all readers to Rhea’s Neon Journal today, and present to you a review where I may have seriously gotten carried away with the heavy ;P Have fun with the review and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Head over to follow the rest of the tour here.
Don’t get mad, get even! In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.
In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.
Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.
Every now and then, you find a book that makes you stop and think. It makes you look into the simplest of your actions, things that you do almost subconsciously, and introspect. And once you’ve done that, it makes you reflect on the actions of others. On things you’ve seen people do and turned a blind eye towards. Or maybe things that happen all around you, every day, all the time, and you never knew what consequences those actions could have.
The Revenge Playbook was that type of a book for me…and so much more. While obtaining revenge was what the book was based on, there were so many other things that the book spoke about. Bullying, for one. Learning to be comfortable with your virginity (or lack thereof) but also learning to respect other people’s choices in the same. Shaming girls for their choice in something as stupid as clothing. But for me, the message that made the deepest impact was the coming together of four completely different girls for one common goal and forming an unexpected friendship beyond belief as a result.
The synopsis states clearly that the football team of Ranburne are kings and get away with just about anything…but that does not even begin to scratch the surface of what I read in the book. There were times in the book where I was pretty sure that the stupid jocks in the book were naive, they didn’t know what they were doing, but it quickly became clear to me that that was not the case. The boys went on bullying girls and other boys alike, shaming girls and calling them names publicly, harassing students while class was in session, and more. And all of this, every single incident was deliberately done to break someone down. What was even more bizarre was the the non-reaction of the teachers and staff at the school. The girls kept being blamed for the misdeeds of the boys and none of the adults seemed to give a flying fuck when this clearly was happening under their noses. It was outrageous to read and there are no excuses for this type of behaviour.
Rape culture. This is what the book was about. The she-asked-for-it stigma and the boys-will-be-boys excuse. That is what this book was based on. But more importantly, it was about the overthrowing of this cheap and sadly, rampantly prevalent way of thinking.
Which brings me to the characters of the book itself. The Revenge Playbook book is narrated by four girls—Ana, Peyton, Melanie Jane and Olivia—as they narrate their reasons for wanting revenge from the wretched football team of their high school. I loved reading their individual voices—so well written and each of their characters represented something that I’ve been seeing a lot around the bookish world lately: Diversity of Personality. None of these girls fit into a stereotype: they weren’t all overly shy or diva-ish or nerdy or outgoing. Instead, each of them had a mix of some these attributes, thereby bringing the appropriate amount of personality diversity into the book.
The Revenge Playbook is also one more thing: A mere glimpse of what girls can do when they band together and put their minds to something. Too often it is said that a woman is a woman’s greatest enemy, and true as it might be, a completely different side of this has been illustrated in this book. This book wasn’t just four girls coming together and fighting against the football team and rebelling against the stupid way their school seemed to run, though it was definitely that. No, to me, this book was about standing for what you know and understand are your rights. Your right to live in dignity. Your right to be respected simply because you are as much a human being as the next person. Your right to be able to express what you feel, without fear of recrimination from an ignorant authority figure.
It seems almost impossible that an author past the point of teenage could capture a teen voice as perfectly as Rachael Allen did. And, contrary to my review, this book isn’t only made up of the heavy…it shows all the little joys of being from a small town too! It made me smile on multiple occasions and each character had her own way of doing it. Each girl brought something new to the book, and that would have been impossible if not for the flawless writing that comes from its author. And to believe that this is only her second book!
This book, as you may have read, has a huge message to give. Yes, the girls were flawed and occasionally, obtuse. Yes, I know that high school math consists of more than the learning the difference between rays and segments and I do believe that may have been poor research. Yes, this book doesn’t have too many moments of romance. And yet, I chose to set all of this aside, because I don’t believe that this was the point of the book. Ultimately, what was important to me was that the book made me think and feel and rage. And as a reader, that’s all I can ask for from mere words on a page.
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- Contest open until June 27th, 2015.
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Up for Grabs!
Win a copy of The Revenge Playbook, some bookmarks, a notebook that’s really cute and matches the book, and other swag
On June 16, 2015, use the hashtag #BFFdraft to talk about who you’d want in your ultimate BFF group. You can pick YA characters, celebrities, girls who are doing cool stuff to make the world a better place, girls who are already your besties.
For more information go here: http://rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com.es/2015/06/bffdraft.html
Thunderclap link: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/27693-bffdraft
Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she’s working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she’s not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after her toddler and her two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel 17 FIRST KISSES, is forthcoming from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses…luckily she doesn’t kiss and tell.