what I’m reading: girls on fire by robin wasserman.

girls on fireIt’s 1991 and a popular high school basketball player is found dead in the woods with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hands. Meanwhile, good girl Hannah Dexter becomes friends with Lacey Champlain, a Doc Marten-wearing, Kurt Cobain-worshipping bad girl from the wrong side of town. The two form a friendship that is obsessive and destructive and full of secrets.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’ve heard so many good things about it and it’s on many lists of books to read this summer, but I thought it was just okay. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not a book I would see myself recommending to people.

I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. I really didn’t like Lacey. She was manipulative and calculating and I didn’t understand the appeal she had over Hannah. Nikki was a little bit better, but really, I didn’t think either of them was especially likeable. I found myself slogging through the chapters told from Lacey’s point of view, mainly because it was difficult for me to relate to Lacey. I didn’t care for the character and couldn’t muster up the energy to care about her problems.

I got bored at times and I didn’t like the ending. I also thought it was interesting that this was promoted as Robin Wasserman’s first adult novel, yet the main characters were in high school. I felt like this book read as a young adult novel with a NC-17 rating.

One of the few redeeming qualities this book has is all the 90s references. The clothing, Doc Martens, the music, The Real World – they all took me back to the early 90s. Robin Wasserman is a talented writer, but this book just did not move me.


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