Monday, February 3, 2014

Title:     Pwned
Author:   Shannen Crane Camp

Rating:   ★★★
Availability:   Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Normally, I don't read queen bee-type of plots because I cannot relate to them. I wasn't a queen bee, and even though I was different from the popular kids, I wasn't bullied because of that (but because of a heartthrob ex). But Pwned attracted me because I love to play games. I'm not an online gamer like Reagan is, but I can definitely relate to that nerdy feeling while outwardly looking cool. I was awarded the bookworm of the year award thrice in thirteen years in school, which I guess established me as being a reader. However, I guess it's just different in the Philippines, where you're not uncool if you're a bookworm or a gamer.

Reagan West has a perfect life. She’s at the top of the high school food chain as co-captain of the cheerleading squad and she’s best friends with the most evil girl in Albany, Tawny Perez, which means she’s never on the receiving end of her wrath. The only trouble in Reagan’s perfect life comes from the constant threat of her dirty little secret leaking to her fellow classmates and casting her into a lifetime of ridicule.

Reagan West is a closet gamer and hates her role as the evil cheerleader.

But, as any well versed teenager knows, it’s better to suppress your own nerdy tendencies than to submit to a lifetime of being shoved into lockers and so, Reagan bravely soldiers through life as a reluctant bully… until a boy from her guild moves to her school and becomes Tawny’s next target. The newcomer threatens to reveal Reagan’s nerdy little secret and force her to come to terms with who she truly is. Now Reagan has to decide if she’s going to defend her fellow geeks, or if she’ll continue to be a total troll.

I admit that Reagan West is the type of girl I hate. She's a bitchy cheerleader, she's passive aggressive, and she doesn't hold herself accountable to her actions. I've also had a few run-ins with this type of bullies, some were cheerleaders, some were just snotty stuck-up prats, but I've managed to hold my ground and look them in the eye because I didn't do anything wrong to them. I almost stopped reading Pwned because up until beyond the middle of the story, she was still the same and I thought beyond redemption. Thank goodness that changed, and she became a likable and better person in the end.

One of the reasons why I didn't stop reading Pwned though is because I remembered high school all too well, and the immaturity that came along with it. I remembered the confusion, and the hesitancy to become who you want to be for fear of ridicule. I remembered the uncertainty of claiming an identity, of knowing who you are and what kind of person you want to be. So I kept on reading, and I finished Pwned with a smile on my face. Honestly, there are just some books that you have to forget to be an adult and let the memories and the silliness wash all over you again as you live vicariously through the characters. Ahhh. The pleasure of reading.

Am I the only one who felt that I was looking through the eyes of Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls? There were several pop references to it, such as with the 'plastics', the 'mean girl' statements. I felt like in Mean Girls, if Cady didn't go to their school, Gretchen would totally have flipped on Regina George like Reagan West did. Even if the author maybe did not mean for that to happen, that was the vibe I got, and I loved it.

Parker, the love interest, has got me intrigued mostly because I love nerds. They're fun to talk to because they're so passionate about the things they geek out on. And after a particularly stressful relationship with someone who didn't know squat about anything, intelligence has become one of my 'musts' in a guy. Parker has definitely got my heart!

If you're looking for a breezy YA read that's not too dramatic, with a quirky take on queen bees and cheerleaders, give Pwned a try.


  1. Great review Goldie!I really like the premise of this book...a gamer cheerleader! High school can be a really cutthroat place and I can understand why Reagan's hesitant to let her top spot beside the queen bee go but I'm glad her character developed for the better. And yes for beta lead males! I've been looking for those types in my books lately too, I'm kinda getting sick of the play boys.

    1. Thank you! It's different, no? Heehee, I love beta males, I get a little scared of too-strong males that are just bursting with testosterone, especially the current trend nowadays. (p)

  2. Hey, being branded a bookworm is not a bad thing, (it was in my school, but my counter is, at least I wasn't an idiot.) so with you on the immaturity thing though, I remember a lot of that, but I was never actually that worried about that stuff, I had a great group of friends who were just the same. I think I'd like this just for the Mean Girl references though, haha. "And after a particularly stressful relationship with someone who didn't know squat about anything, intelligence has become one of my 'musts' in a guy" THIS, haha. Seriously, yes. For a start, I'd just get bored of him otherwise, which has happened. Glad you didn't give up on this one, great review! :)

    Kirsty @StudioReads

    1. Thank you, Kirsty. Haha high five! It's just something I could not get through with again. (k)


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