And so I move from a book I read a week ago, to one I read back in April. I feel very guilty that I didn’t review this one at the time, as it was an ARC I received via Netgalley, but unfortunately it was in a period when I just couldn’t make myself post anything anywhere apart from twitter. Better late than never eh, and it’s not far off the paperback release date now anyway!
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.
Girls on Fire was an incredibly compelling book. I also, as noted above, read it in April, so I very much doubt this will be a very long post! On the surface it looks rather like your usual story about high school girls, but it’s so much more than that. I think what I really loved about it was the exploration of the intense friendships the girls in question had. Lacey and Hannah are both damaged in their own way, and having found someone to believe in, they are very reluctant to let anyone or anything else get in the way. I was completely engrossed in what was happening, and would definitely recommend it – just be warned that it’s VERY dark in places.
(It’s really difficult to effectively review a book you read 8 months ago, no matter how brilliant it was!)
Arc received via Netgalley