Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town's bad girl, Lacey, the two 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...
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: May 17th 2016 by Harper
ISBN 0062415484 (ISBN13: 9780062415486)
About the Author
Robin Wasserman is a graduate of Harvard University and the author of several successful novels for young adults. A recent recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Girls on Fire is her first novel for adults.
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See them in their golden hour, a flood of girls high on the ecstasy of the final bell, tumbling onto the city bus, all gawky limbs and Wonderbra cleavage, chewed nails picking at eruptive zits, lips nibbling and eyes scrunching in a doomed attempt not to cry.Hannah is essentially a "good girl", if a bit of an outsider. Lacey is the "bad girl" in school, who seems to throw her indifference in the faces of all who would question her place in society. These two girls somehow find themselves thrown together into a severely co-dependent relationship (think Thelma and Louise hyped up on some of Cobain's "teen spirit"). Hannah lacks any self-identity and simply transforms into what people expect of her. Lacey christens her under the new name of "Dex" and recreates her into her own goth image.
Then you have Nikki, the privileged mean girl in school who everyone follows as if she were the pied piper of vicious teenagers. The school is sent into a bit of a spiral by the suicide of the school jock, who was Nikki's longtime boyfriend. The pair were high school royalty.
Then there are the parents. The ever-embarrassing parents who never seem to "get" their troubled teens. Dex comes from a normal home with parents who care, while Lacey comes from a screwed up home life with an overbearing step-father and an alcoholic and dispassionate mother.
The story switches between the perspectives of Dex and Lacey (Us), and occasionally that of the parents (Them). Sometimes switching perspectives like this can be difficult to follow, but the author really handled it well and it was a useful tool and quite enlightening. It is interesting to see an act through the eyes of one person, and then to see the same act through those of another person. What may have first seemed cruel or selfish or self-motivated could actually have been motivated by compassion or fear or even love. And even an act motivated by love can be evil or cruel.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Tuesday, May 17th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, May 18th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 19th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, May 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, May 23rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, May 24th: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, May 25th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Thursday, May 26th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, May 30th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, May 31st: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, May 31st: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Thursday, June 2nd: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 6th: Lilac Reviews
Monday, June 6th: Booksellers Without Borders
Monday, June 6th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, June 7th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, June 8th: A Book Geek
Thursday, June 9th: SJ2B House Of Books
My final word: This book is marketed as the author's first "adult novel", yet check Goodreads and you'll see the number one genre classification by readers is "young adult", and I have to agree with that. This book really took me back to my teen years. I could see a bit of myself in Dex and my friend in Lacey. There's a hard edge to the story and quite a bit of graphic sexuality and some violence, so it is not for the younger crowd. But it definitely fits into the young adult niche. I enjoyed the author's writing, which is very easy to read and engaging. The characters are well drawn and defined, and her technique with the ever-changing perspectives was expertly handled. There is a twist at one point that left me thinking, "Well, I did not see that coming!" Moments made me cringe, some made me angry, others made me ache for the individual. Overall this is one damn fine read!
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The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.