Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman, Published May 17th 2016 by Harper
“Girls had to believe in anything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.”
― Robin Wasserman,
Robin Wasserman is the author of many works of young adult fiction such as The Walking Dark, The Book of Blood and Sorrow, and The Seven Deadly Sins. Not only is Girls on Fire Wasserman’s first adult novel, but it is also the first book by Robin Wasserman that I have ever read. Reading the synopsis I thought, “this sounds pretty good”, then I opened the book and saw that it takes place between 1991 and 1992 and I think, “I bet i’m really going to like this”, then one of the main characters starts making references to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain and I say (out loud this time), “oh boy, this is going to be good”! Not only am I obsessed with all things from the 1990’s, but I love thriller reads-this book had it all for me!
The town of Battle Creek is like any other small town, quiet and undisturbed. That is, until the body of popular boy Craig Ellison is found in the woods. Through strange circumstances, in the aftermath of Craig’s death, good girl Hannah Dexter is brought together with bad girl Lacey Champlain. The two are insistent on wreaking havoc in their small town, especially when rumors of satanism surface. Convinced they are invincible, Hannah and Lacey are undaunted by the uneasiness that their rebellion causes the people of their narrow-minded community. But when Lacey’s secrets about her life before Hannah begin to surface, will they be able to stand together or will their passionately violent relationship crumble?
Wasserman’s writing is aggressive and uncomfortable at times, but her dialogue remains very colloquial. I could feel myself blushing during some of the more passionate scenes, but the realness was so apparent. The main characters, Hannah and Lacey were extremely believable. Hannah is more of a follower and we see that in almost all of her interactions. Lacey, on the other hand, is extremely independent and unique and I felt that Wasserman did an incredible job of portraying that in her everyday language. Wasserman also used the characters’ extremely descriptive physical appearances to [successfully] express their inner feelings.
This book was honestly better than I expected it to be! It was engaging, but uncomfortable at the same time! Half of it was probably because I love the 90’s and I thoroughly enjoy reading page turners, but even if you don’t enjoy these characteristics in a book you can’t deny the complexity and intensity of Wasserman’s writing. I highly recommend this book to lovers of suspense (and the 90’s)!
Throughout the entire book there are numerous references to the 1990’s grunge scene and the bands that inspired the fad. Hannah’s dad also talks about his love for a few bands from the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve put together a playlist that I feel embraces Girls On Fire and that may make your reading experience a little more enjoyable!
Playlist for Girls On Fire