I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
Published by Harper on May 17, 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Literary, Suspense
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On Halloween, 1991, a popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that sends tremors through this conservative community, already unnerved by growing rumors of Satanic worship in the region.
In the wake of this incident, bright but lonely Hannah Dexter is befriended by Lacey Champlain, a dark-eyed, Cobain-worshiping bad influence in lip gloss and Doc Martens. The charismatic, seductive Lacey forges a fast, intimate bond with the impressionable Dex, making her over in her own image and unleashing a fierce defiance that neither girl expected. But as Lacey gradually lures Dex away from her safe life into a feverish spiral of obsession, rebellion, and ever greater risk, an unwelcome figure appears on the horizon—and Lacey’s secret history collides with Dex’s worst nightmare.
By turns a shocking story of love and violence and an addictive portrait of the intoxication of female friendship, set against the unsettled backdrop of a town gripped by moral panic, Girls on Fire is an unflinching and unforgettable snapshot of girlhood: girls lost and found, girls strong and weak, girls who burn bright and brighter—and some who flicker away.
Oh dear god yes. This book brought back all of the angst of high school, toxic friendships, lies compounding lies, a social stratus that defines all and so much more. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman is a book about teenagers that is not a YA in the best way. Dark and even sinister at points, it shows how deeply a person will go when they are truly obsessed with another.
The plot of Girls on Fire reminded me of the best of the dark parts of Heathers and Jawbreaker with a smattering of Mean Girls thrown in. Hannah gets so wrapped up in the friendship of Lacey that she will literally change everything about her self including her name and the downward spiral is a delight in an almost perverse way. Robin Wasserman wrote a tale of friendship that surpasses the ordinary. She had a lyrical way of phrasing that made even the awful parts intriguing. The pacing had a few issues where I felt it jumped too much but it was quickly brought back down and did not detract from the read as a whole. The world built was rich and I got a great image of each of the scenes. There were plenty of emotions in the book, most of them very deep. This was such a nuanced ride, that even some of the scenery played a role. I loved the two main characters. They were each attempting to alter themselves in different ways and relied on the other to make them whole. I did not care for any of the parents, and one plot line with Hannah’s father was really not necessary and did detract from some of the overall story.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman brought me back to my teen years where I had a friend very similar to Lacey. She ran the show and we were all her puppets; dressing like her, listening to the same bands, ganging up on whoever she declared not cool for the week. I read this book and it made me anxious and uncomfortable and I loved that. I always enjoy a book that takes me so out of my comfort zone and this one did it in a way that I really enjoyed.
Favorite lines – Give in: Pick a pair of them, lost in each other, a matched set like a vision out of the past. Nobody special, two nobodies. Except that together, they’re radioactive; together, they glow. Nestled into a seat in the back of the bus, arms tangled, foreheads kissing. Long for the way they drown in each other.
Biggest cliché – But, she’s my best friend.
Have you read Girls on Fire, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge