Girls on Fire – Robin Wasseman

This is not a story of bad things happening to bad girls. I say this because I know you, Dex, and I know how you think. I’m going to tell you a story, and this time, it will be the truth.

Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything . . .

Starting – and ending – with tragedy, Girls on Fire stands alongside The Virgin Suicides in its brilliant portrayal of female adolescence, but with a power and assurance all its own.

Girls are cruel.

I have had to take a few days out after reading Girls on Fire to reflect and absorb the story before writing my review. Whilst this wasn’t a book I enjoyed as much as some there were extracts that I thoroughly relished, those gripping sessions that enticed me to continue to read, intrigued me to flip the pages and read a few more lines but then there were those I struggled with, those that were slower but not as engaging, the story took a turn I didn’t want but regardless that this is a very insightful, if not disturbing, telling the story of a coming of age, testing the boundaries and doing right from wrong.

This story was about three girls. Yet we only heard the point of view from two but three were definitely involved and one man. He was underpinning the whole story from beginning to end yet we never heard his voice or met him as a character. He was a memory and we learnt about him through the voices of others.

There were extracts that I thoroughly relished, those gripping sessions that enticed me to continue to read, intrigued me to flip the pages and read a few more lines.

We learn how cruel people can be. We witness how sly and controlling girls can be and how they enjoy to manipulate. The characters are not especially nice, all with a hidden agenda they play off each other slowly turning into creatures they can never return from.

If you want something that bit different then give this a read. It does play on your mind and aspects are quite graphic but it works. The novel feels angry but that works too. It reads better if you have an open mind.

The bottom line, girls are far too cruel and far too good at getting away with it.

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