3.5 stars, book provided by author for honest review.I once read somewhere that bullying is seen as a socially acceptable form of torture. Those of us who have been bullied, whether by classmates, loved ones, or both, can see how this is true. Lately it seems society has turned its attention to the damage that bullying can cause, but there's still a prevalent attitude that those who are bullied should just "deal with it". "It's just kids being kids," they'll say, but I feel the need to quote Stephen King here: "High school is hell, and if you're low on the social rung it's like the ninth circle of hell."Of course it's not just high school that has bullying, and we witness it firsthand in Tough Girl. Heily is one of those authors who is not content to merely show you a scene and describe it. She has you live it. You are right there with her characters, feeling their pain and exhilaration. It's a harrowing experience reading Tough Girl, and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. I myself had a difficult time reading this, not because the quality of the book is poor, but because it honestly gave me flashbacks to things that happened in my past that I'd rather not remember. Luckily I didn't go through the sort of physical torment that Reggie goes through, but I also created an alter-ego to help me cope with a lot of things that happened to me in my childhood. I could go on forever about the sort of implications this has, but I will refrain from making comments that are too personal here. Instead I will say that people like Reggie need help.There were a few times that I thought a few passages seemed unclear, or that I felt two sentences would work better as one or vice versa. Still, the story takes over and I'm left with few complaints. Heily indeed has talent and I look forward to reading more of her work.Tough Girl was such a shock for me. It's possible that I'm somewhat jaded as a reader. I'm not often surprised and I tend to see twists coming a mile away. This book, however, had me reeling. I finished this book at work and a few times my jaw dropped and I stared at my screen in shock. This almost never happens to me, but it happened multiple times with Tough Girl. It left me breathless and stunned.I'd recommend this book to anyone who's strong enough to handle the subject matter, but I will caution that it is not an easy read. Maybe you'll see the twists coming, maybe it won't affect you as much as it did me. What I can't see, though, is how someone could read this and not feel brought to his/her knees.