A darker, edgier Breakfast Club for today’s teens, Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange is one part emotional coming of age and one part crime thriller. The unlikely combination is a beautiful, fast-paced story about the labels that define us and the ways we can break those definitions to make our own.
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 love a good coming of age story, and Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah has coming of age in aces and spades. This part of the book is just so beautifully written, as Andi, York, Boston, and Sam each struggle with who they are and who they want to be, and all the outside influences affecting their choices. Parents, classmates, etc. We see the challenges they each face and feel for them, deeply. The emotional connectedness of this story is powerful and moving.
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is filled with plenty of gorgeous, quiet little moments that make up a larger picture — but individually, they are also just these lovely little snapshots. There is one in particular, with the four teens laying on a dock at night, that still resonates with me. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say any more, except that this scene is one of many little nuances that make this book so special.
These quiet little scenes are made all the more lovely when juxtaposed against the racing, raging action scenes. Because while this book is very much a coming of age story, it’s also a crime thriller — with the teens caught in a dangerous, potentially deadly situation after they jump into a car to escape the cops busting up a party in the woods. That’s where the story begins, but it only escalates from there — and each new element raises the stakes, up until the unbelievably cinematic conclusion.
I’ve read plenty of beautiful coming of age stories, and plenty edge-of-your-seat thrillers — but I think this is the first time I’ve read a book that so beautifully offered both. Both large and small in scope, and elegantly written at every turn, Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is in stores February 16th.
I love the comparison of a riff on The Breakfast Club