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 crap 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.
I WAS PROVIDED A FREE EARC OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.