Do you remember being a teenager? I’m in my early 50s, so I was a teen during the very cool, at least we thought it was, 1970s. Turns out it was quite boring on the eastern end of Long Island. Me and my best friend, Debby snuck cigarettes, beer once in a while and if we wanted to get high, smoked a few joints. There was some bullying, but nothing that was going to make anyone kill themselves or anyone else.
Reading GIRLS ON FIRE (Harper) by Robin Wasserman makes me wonder if I grew up on another planet, and freakin’ glad I’m not a teenager today. Trust me, this novel is not for the light-hearted. GIRLS ON FIRE takes place in the 1990s and includes some dark stuff: suicide, Satanism, sex, drugs, homophobia, rape, bullying and lots of Kurt Cobain. (We had early Aerosmith and Jethro Tull) Wasserman is such an extraordinary talented writer, once you start reading, you won’t stop until you reach the final page completely exhausted, but definitely satisfied.
“Girls had to believe in anything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.”
It’s 1991, the local high-school basketball star is found in the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand. The discovery shocks the entire town, already freaked out by growing rumors of satanic worship.
This brings bright, impressionable and lonely Hannah Dexter together with new bad girl Lacey Champlain, eyeliner-rimmed, Kurt Cobain-worshipping bad news. She makes Dex, as she’s now known, into her own image and what happens next is not good. The novel proceeds to tell their alternating viewpoints.
At times, GIRLS ON FIRE may read as if we’ve been here, done that, but this time we’re in the 90s. What makes this narrative so unique is Wasserman’s brilliant raw writing and ability to create amazing 3-dimensional characters. They are so fully developed terrifying readers, while we’re shocked to realize they’re only 17-year old girls. Their addiction to one another and violence is repulsive and hard for me to identify with. I’m happy, that suggests I’m not a sociopath.
By turns a horrific story of love and violence, GIRLS ON FIRE is an unforgettable voyeuristic look into girlhood. You’ll never expect what’s coming at the end.
GIRLS ON FIRE is one of this summer’s hotly anticipated novels. Publishers are banking on it being extremely popular and it’s currently in development at Warner Bros. TV.
About Robin Wasserman
Robin Wasserman is a graduate of Harvard University and the author of several successful novels for young adults. A recent recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Girls on Fire is her first novel for adults.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours http://www.tlcbooktours.com we have one copy of GIRLS ON FIRE to giveaway. Just leave a comment about what you remember from your teen years. We’ll pick a winner Tuesday. Have a safe, wonderful Memorial Day weekend.