Friday, 26 June 2015

Review: The Revenge Playbook (Don't punch the wall, don't punch the wall, don't punch the wall.)

The Revenge Playbook
Publication Date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

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.

Don’t get mad, get even!

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.

It took me a while to write this review, usually, I like writing them not long after I finish a book so it's still fresh and really, just to get it done. This one? Nope. Because I honestly couldn't put into words how amazing and important and empowering The Revenge Playbook is, and here's me trying now (but you know it's going to be a rambling review, right?) 

Firstly, have to say this. I usually don't comment on a title or the cover in a review, because, you know, it's what's inside that counts, but I wish The Revenge Playbook had a different cover and a different name. When you saw it, read the name, what did you think? It seemed light and fun, and something that you'd read when you need a book like that, and I mean, that part of the book is fun, and in some parts, hilarious. The whole idea behind it was exactly what the cover and title portrays, but the reason behind everything really doesn't and it's not fun and it's not light. This isn't a 'I am a woman, so hear me roar' type of book, it's a 'I am a woman and my voice should be heard' type of book, and it's fucking sad, it really is.

The Revenge Playbook brings up a lot of issues, small town mentalities, sexism, slut shaming, equality and just plain old fairness. And it took something so ridiculous as stealing a fucking football (or in the UK, rugby ball) to get their voices heard. We're still fighting for that, when we shouldn't be, but we still do. But mostly importantly, The Revenge Playbook delved into rape culture, and rape culture in a small town, and I am so fucking angry (you can probably tell, by all the swearing.) because of it. It doesn't matter if you were wearing a short skirt or hot pants, it doesn't matter if you wore a low cut top or a skin tight dress, it doesn't matter if you were drunk or drinking or tipsy, and it sure as hell doesn't matter if you were dancing like BeyoncĂ© or a stripper, it shouldn't matter. You are not asking to be harassed or touched up, you are not asking to be violated and you are not asking to be raped. It shouldn't matter, but it does, doesn't it? Because if any of the above applies to you, you were a tease, or a slut, or you led him on or it was consensual because you didn't say no or it was consensual and you changed your mind in the morning. And you know what? You don't even need to hear that because a victim is already thinking all of those things, because that's what society tells us when it's word against word, and a small town mentality against a football star. And that's what happened in here. Okay, that's my preach, I'll shut up now. 

The Revenge Playbook isn't perfect, it's downright horrible at times but it really shows what needs to be showed, and it is so empowering in a way that shouldn't even have to be empowering. Voices should be heard, female voices should be heard, small town syndrome or not, we shouldn't be shamed, we shouldn't be shamed over sexuality or beliefs or our bodies. I got so fucking angry (not at the book, but at the reality of it all), especially with Ana's perspective because it's painful. And honestly? If you've never really considered yourself as a feminist, read this, and think again.

Rating: 4.5/5