It’s rare that I read “dark” books; I’m too much of a wuss when it comes to those kind of things! However, I made an exception for Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
Publication Date: 05 May 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown
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…
Girls on Fire is a tale as old as time. Good girl meets bad girl, and bad girl makes good girl go bad. Hannah and Lacey meet during the aftermath of a suicide, and quickly become friends, united in their hatred for Queen Bee Nikki (who was the girlfriend of the boy who commited suicide). Set during the 60s in a small town in America, their friendship quickly becomes intense amongst a background of alleged satanic worship(!) by the town’s teenagers. Throw in a lorra lorra mentions of drugs and sex, and references to the band Nirvana, and you have Girls on Fire.
One of my favourite things about Girls on Fire was the style of narration. I loved the prose, and the way it was written. It reminded me of Gone Girl (sorry, but it did) in that it was intense, and almost poetic in a way. If this book had had a simple style of narration I don’t think it would have worked as well, and I would have probably given it a lower rating.
I also liked how your feelings could change towards the characters. You might begin liking Hannah/Dex, or hating her, but then over the course of the novel change your mind several times. I know I did. Take Lacey for example. I didn’t like her at the beginning as I thought she was rather try-hard and obviously she was “the bad girl”. However, as the novel went on and we got to know her and her back story, I began to like her and I actually preferred her to Hannah/Dex. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Nikki, the villain. She was almost too mean to be believeable. Could anyone truly be that mean and calculating? I’m not sure. A lot of the time she did echo my own feelings towards Lacey in that she was a bad influence on Hannah/Dex. Other than that, I didn’t see the point of her. It was almost like her cruel actions were simply to propel the plot forward.
A few of the reviews that I have read have said that the premise of Girls on Fire has been done many times before, but let’s be real, what hasn’t? Are we all forgetting about the great vampire love story invasion of 2010? Regardless of whether it has been done lots of times before, this type of story is a first for me. Even though it is darker than what I usually read, I enjoyed it and I would be open to reading similar stories in the future.
Girls on Fire isn’t a book that I would recommend everyone should read. Even though it is a book about teenage girls, I feel like it’s too dark to be classed as YA, but at times too immature to be women’s fiction. It’s somewhere in the middle! If you like your stories dark, then you might like this one. I gave Girls on Fire 4/5 stars on GoodReads as I did enjoy it (in a way that you can enjoy a book this dark) but it hasn’t completely changed my life. It has made me want to listen to Nirvana though.. Is Nevermind on Spotify?