The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on June 16th 2015
Also by this author: A Taxonomy of Love, The Summer of Impossibilities
Format: ARC (368 pages) • Source: Around the World ARC Tours
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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.
I felt a lot of things while reading this book! I didn’t ever want to stop reading because I was JUST as determined as these girls to get back at the football players. These guys were absolutley horrible! (Nearly all of them, at least…) They had awful lists about girls and forced guys to break up with their girlfriends if they weren’t up to their standards. They got away with doing anything they wanted and had major preferential treatment from everyone in the school. I kept thinking of the Amy Schumer “Football Town Nights” video, which I won’t link up here for potential trigger warnings. (Google it, if you’re interested!) Everyone in the town perpetuates rape culture without even realizing it. As this book said,
“Rape culture isn’t something feminists made up to be angry about.”
I liked the romance in this one, although it wasn’t as important. The main point of the book is revenge against dickhead boys, and that took center stage. The most heavily romance-related ones were Melanie Jane’s and Liv’s points of view. Their boys were adorable and I was rooting for all of them to end up together.
I thought that the ending was incredibly realistic. You can assume that the girls are able to achieve some kind of revenge against the boys, and the “punishment” of the boys was reasonable. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the book didn’t automatically fix everything. Rape culture and sexism are systemic issues; punishing a few boys on the team won’t change everyone’s opinions of them right away. There will still be lingering problems, but you hope that the girl’s efforts make some kind of impact on the rest of the school. This aspect was well-done.
The one issue I had with this book was that I had some difficulty keeping track of people and events. There were four girls who all had separate points of view, as well as two timelines that went back and forth (the night of the scavenger hunt alternated with the previous months). I really LOVED that it was set up that way, because you’re curious about how the events of that night finally came to be and learn all of the shitty football player drama in the meantime. It just got confusing for me to keep the girls separate too. I think this is mostly because I was forced to take a break in the middle of reading, for another bookish commitment. If I had been able to read the book straight through, this wouldn’t have been an issue.
Who would you #BFFdraft (YA character, celebrity, girl you already know) to be in your BFF crew? http://t.co/pbdR1jL7mD#RevengePlaybook
— Patricia Lopez (@TUABFC) June 14, 2015
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.