Girls on Fire By Robin Wasserman
Published 16 May 2016 By Harper
Summary: 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…
Trigger Warning: mental, physical and sexual abuse + religious / cult elements
This book scared me.
The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books, and when I saw it on the blurb, I knew I had to read it. After reading the book description on Buzzfeed, I was intrigued.
The book opens with a suicide of a boy in Hannah Dexter’s class. He was a popular, well beloved golden boy who decided to shoot himself in the woods. Nobody understood why, but people were convinced: he joined a cult, brainwashed, messed with things bigger than all of us. The 90s setting of this book was amazing; Robin Wasserman did a great job setting everything up. Having been born in the 90s, it was interesting to read about how witchcraft, cults and Kurt Cobain became a great part of many people’s lives or how it affected them and their town.
In comes new girl Lacey, who decided to befriend Hannah, or now lovingly known as Dex, after being publicly humiliated by Nikki Drummond, the most popular girl in school.
Does the plot sound familiar to you? Good girl gets bullied, befriends mysterious new girl and transforms into someone else? Yeah, I thought so. But believe me when I say that Robin Wasserman makes the story her own. Her writing will draw you in, suck you up and force you to turn the pages.
The reality is, Girls on Fire is hella scary and hella good. Wasserman makes you get inside their heads, make them tell you the story, everything that they’re thinking. The chapters alternate between Dex, telling her story and Lacey, telling Dex her story. There are several chapters of “US” that’s just stories from outsiders, namely, their parents and how they’re just trying their best, but it gives you a glimpse of why things are the way they are.
Lacey is psychotic. There is something about her character and the way she mentally gets to you is extremely terrifying but you need to keep reading to know what she’s done, what she’s going to do, her train of thoughts.
While Lacey orchestrates the show, Hannah’s character serves to move Lacey’s ideologies. She is the typical average follower, but its so scary how much of Lacey is within her and how eventually her own ideologies are planted by Lacey herself. And Nikki, oh. Nikki, she isn’t so simple either. I wish there were more of her, and towards the end I wanted to hear more about her story.
Girls on Fire stands on its own. The familiar plot or typical characters doesn’t matter here. Robin Wasserman took something familiar, and spun it to the beat of her own drum.
You need to read this. This book will haunt me for years to come.