I was lucky enough to read a 20-page snippet of Robin Wasserman’s ‘Girls on Fire’, published by Little, Brown Book Group. So while this obviously won’t be as complete a review as usual, I thought it would be interesting to write down my thoughts and impressions of the first chapter or so.
The book opens with an older Hannah Dexter watching and thinking about teenage girls, and how different she is to them now. It quickly flashes back to 1991-1992, when she was in high school. A classmate commits suicide, and she becomes friends with the dangerously magnetic Lacey Champlain. A pretty standard opening, if I’m honest. The resemblance to ‘The Virgin Suicides’ is pretty clear. However, I’m a sucker for this sort of narrative (I don’t even want to know what that says about me), so I really don’t care. The set-up of a naive girl becoming friends with a dangerous and electric girl with a secret past is one that just works.
It also helps that the writing is absolutely stunning. It ticks every single box – the descriptions are gritty yet lush, the dialogue is believable, Hannah’s voice is very clear. I initially groaned, because I really don’t like first-person narration, on the whole, but so far, Wasserman has proved she has great control over Hannah’s observations and thoughts about the world, and about herself, without turning too weirdly introspective or going into third-person.
Basically? Yeah, I’m ordering it as soon as I can. Damn that was a good beginning!
Edited: I have kindly been allowed to read the entire book via NetGalley! Watch this space for my full review!