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.
©2016 Robin Wasserman (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
I didn't find this book to be "shocking" as the summary implies, it all seemed quite normal to me. High school is hard on everyone, there are mean girls, nice girls, and sad kids, some who even kill themselves. Girls have special bonds at that age, because it can be so hard, and it's a time of change, and sometimes, those close friends become something else. Girls you thought you hated, turn out to not be so bad. It all sounds very normal
I think that's supposed to be the thing that messes with you. How so many things that are so common can go wrong in a way that seems to snowball until it's out of control. I think the author was reaching with a lot of stuff, and didn't always hit the mark (like three-somes in an abandoned train car), but when it does, it hits hard (drunk girl defiled at a party, in graphic detail).
The graphic details and language try and put you on edge, make you uncomfortable, and drive home the passion the author is trying to portray, but I think it misses the mark. I think she's trying too hard and it just comes across vulgar for the sake of it.
All that aside, I like this book, but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. I'd suggest they read the summary, tell them that it's "just OK", and if they still felt inclined to read it, that's on them.
This was one of those books that started out okay, but went downhill from there. The writing is very mediocre and the narration is terrible. I stuck it out until the end, but I honestly couldn't wait for it to finish.
This book held promise of 90s nostalgia along with a suspenseful story, but didn't really deliver. I found the story to be very predictable and none of the characters to be particularly interesting. Additionally, three narrators are used, I assume to differentiate point of view. However, the main two voices were so similar (and grating) that it did little to move that idea forward. I was disappointed.
This is one of the top audio books I have read. One of the key factors for me in ranking books is the unpredictability of a book. I never saw the ending coming.
Lacey. Without giving too much away, she is epitome of teenage angst.
I have not. They were fantastic and embodied the characters.
Come as you are. Readers/Listeners of the book will understand how appropriate this tag line is.
A novel about teenage angst and fighting the desire to fit in. As a teenager who often did not fit in with the popular kids, I found myself rooting for Lacey and Dex and their friendship.
The 2 main girls were good people that when put together certain things
went downhill. Sometimes in life we meet someone that we almost worship,
and after that things can get better or worse. I also enjoyed the narration, and I
can be very picky
GIRLS ON FIRE starts out strong, but quickly I became dubious due to the exaggerated use of vulgar language. The unceremonious use of the "c" word right away, constant f-bombs, and graphic sexual imagery end up cheapening the overall dark mood. The plot is not really shocking at all; its "dangerous" content is hit-you-over the head with zero subtlety. It does draw you in and is engaging, but ultimately never delivers the shock that you want and expect because the "climax" comes after so many repetitive chapters. By the climax, the circumstances and the characters seem unlikely and are just plain hard to believe.
This was definitely a good audible pick for cleaning/exercising/long drives, etc., since it isn't too heavy and generally keeps the listener engaged. However, the last couple hours DRAG so much, are so repetitive and tedious, as if the writer really fell in love with describing the warped relationship dynamics and couldn't stop herself from going over the same territory a hundred times. Despite the great performance, it definitely made me long for a physical book that I could just skim through to get to something of substance again, or even just to the end.
A peaceful village is shaken by a mysterious teen suicide. Behind the boy's death there are several stories of bullying, gossip, crimes committed out of boredom, testing the limits of sexual pleasure, intoxication and rebellion against a conservative society.
Until the end we keep wondering who is the puppet and who is the puppeteer? Who is the witch?
How far can go peer influence on teenage girls? Kurt Cobain's life and music are a constant reference where every other religion failed.
Gender issues and uncomfortable questions are raised by daughters and mothers. The first person narration, alternating characters in different chapters, gives a rich contrast of perspectives, exclusively using female voices though. This choices deepens the study of female psyche, but I personally missed the counterpart of fathers and sons.
Certain passages are sublime, while others seem to go too far in a twisted direction, where situations get worse and worse, and become unbelievable.
If you want to go back and feel that teen angst of the 90', if you want to feel female friendship and love, this book is for you, painful but gripping.
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