'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 such an intense read it sweeps you up and captures you in the obsessive, all-consuming friendship between Lacey and Dex. Set in the 90s with grunge music as it's backdrop, Kurt Cobain looms over proceedings as this coming of age story gives us devil worshipping, drugs and sexual experimentation. This is no YA!
I found the book started off quite slow, but allowed us to really get a sense of the two protagonists, who so easily could have fallen into cliche territory (bad girl, good girl gone bad) had it not been for the fact they were given plenty of depth as they struggled to find their own identity in a small town. I did feel the character of Nikki was a little flat. A classic popular girl/queen bitch she seemed too shallow to be real and no explanation was offered to why she was the way she was.
The second half of the book really amped up the tension and it flipped back and forth in time and back and forth between characters and I genuinely had no idea where it was going.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and liked Wasserman's writing style. She wasn't afraid to go into dark and disturbing territories and although this story has been done before I felt like she offered something new to the formula. An enjoyable read, that I recommend particularly if you enjoyed Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I've also read a review that described it as 'Like Thelma and Louise as directed by David Lynch' which I think pretty perfectly sums it up!
The paperback is now out and available here.
*Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group for sending me a copy to review.