Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls 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 one of those books that was hyped about on Twitter, pictures of proofs and hashtags were everywhere and as the book was compared to ‘The Virgin Suicides’, I was curious to see whether the book was worthy of all the attention that surrounded it.
In ‘Girls On Fire’, I was brought into a world where Kurt Cobain was King, the school halls were ruled by evil girls and Devil worshipping was a everyday sport. To be honest this book was an unsettling story from start to finish, which left me troubled in the end, as I wondered, did what happened in the story actually happen somewhere in the real world?
The story is mostly seen through the eyes of best friends, Hannah and Lacey, whose friendship was primarily based on their mutual hatred of Nikki Drummond, the popular, most bitchiest girl of the school, whose boyfriend committed suicide on Halloween night in the woods.
Lacey is new to the school, arriving shortly before Craig’s suicide, obsessed with Nirvana, she dabbled with the dark side and decides to befriend meek, loner Hannah Dexter, who she decides to call Dex. Together they travel on a journey of self discovery, as Lacey brings Dex out of her shell and introduces her to the wilder side of life. Meanwhile Lacey has to deal with her strict Christian step father, new baby brother and a mother who longs to return to her old life, before she had children and responsibilities. Together the troubled girls form a dark and sinister bond about their obsession with Nikki, who is a cruel and twisted character and gets a kick out of hurting people.
The story is seen through the narrative of both Lacey and Hannah and sees insights of their lives, before they met and how they influenced each other as their friendship blossomed.
It’s hard to go into too much detail about the story as it would be very easy to give something important away. The story is very atmospheric, set in the 1990’s when rock music was influential, the girls are outcasts of the school with their Doctor Martin boots and dramatic makeup. Hannah no longer shies away, as Lacey gives her a new found confidence and both girls believe that they invincible and will be friends forever.
Robin is a fresh new voice, whose writing is chilling and intense, her debut made for dramatically, dark and shocking reading and ‘Girls On Fire’ was a book that I did find very unsettling from the beginning. A twisted story about obsession, friendship and lust, this disturbing novel, had me gripped throughout and as much as it troubled me, when I reached the final page, it did leave me wondering “did that really happen?”
You can pre-order Girls on Fire from Amazon and will be avallable to buy from good bookshops from 5th May 2016.