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Atlanta Burns

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You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.

Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault.

You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.

Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.

Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?

381 pages, Paperback

First published January 27, 2015

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About the author

Chuck Wendig

178 books5,772 followers
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.

Chuck's novel Double Dead will be out in November, 2011.

He's written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 228 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,990 followers
January 10, 2015
"Why can't I be a normal girl who doesn't know what spent gunpowder smells like? Why can't I just...dick around on Facebook and chase after boys and...I dunno, just quit stirring up the shit?"

That's who Atlanta Burns is. She shoots the nads off her mother's boyfriend when he started messing around with her, so she spends some time away. When she returns Atlanta is a take no bullshit kind of girl.

In the first story of the book Atlanta is helping out a gay friend who is being tortured by a bunch of skin head ass-holes. She stirs up a hornets nest of pure redneck assholes.

Then in the second story of the book she deals with some of these same assholes and add in a dog fighting ring. (This part has some animal abuse for those of you that can't handle that kind of thing)..don't worry though. Atlanta has no fears when she tackles these people. She has no filter when it comes to her being pissed off. No stopping sense. Umm...I know someone sorta like that.

One question that kept going through my mind was wondering how old this girl was..and why no adult except for a drug dealer offers to help with any of this bull.
I received an arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
March 27, 2015
I got this Atlanta Burns omnibus from Netgalley.

Shotgun Gravy: When a friend of a friend is violated by bullies in an attempt to set him straight, Atlanta Burns goes on the offensive. But can a teenage girl everyone is afraid of get the job done?

Add redneck noir Young Adult fiction to the list of things Chuck Wendig is good at. Shotgun Gravy is tale of fighting against bullying by a teenage girl that's seen a lot in her young life. I've seen her referred to as Nancy Drew with a shotgun but she's more like another Wendig character, Miriam Black, only younger and without supernatural abilities.

Shotgun Gravy isn't a trip to the YA parade, either. There are neo-Nazis, bullies, and even the protagonists are damaged goods. It's way more like Winter's Bone than stereotype YA love triangle mush. I was halfway through the first novella before I realized it. I kept thinking "Is Atlanta going to Red Harvest these shitheads?"

Side note: One thing I think Chuck Wendig excels at is creating gay characters that have an identity outside of being gay. You wouldn't think that would be as rare as it is in this day and age but here we are.

Bait Dog: One of Atlanta's friends dies, apparently a suicide. When a classmate hires her to find her who stole her dog, Atlanta stumbles upon a dog fighting ring. Are the two connected? And can Atlanta find out AND make enough money to keep the bank from foreclosing on her mother's house?

Bait Dog is a powerful little book. When you hear a book described as Young Adult, you don't think of this. Well, maybe if someone speculated what a Young Adult book by Jim Thompson would read like. You know what really puts the cherry on top of killing gays? A dog fighting ring! There sure are some galaxy-class douche bags in Atlanta Burns' general vicinity.

This is some bleak shit. Shotgun Gravy was just the tip of the iceberg of despair. Atlanta goes through the meat grinder once again, this time dragging her friends with her. It was novel length but felt a thousand times longer because of the unrelenting hopelessness of Atlanta's plight. Dirty cops, dirty millionaires, dirty dog fight ring owners, dirty, dirty dirty. I enjoyed it and thought it was very well done but I was glad as shit when it was over.

Side note: I have to think Chuck Wendig is a fan of the Wire since there are characters named Bird and Bodie and a dog named Omar.

If Atlanta Burns is any indication, 2015 is going to be another stellar year for Chuck Wendig. Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for jv poore.
616 reviews213 followers
November 17, 2021
I became a Chuck Wendig fan when I discovered him on Twitter. I began to fall a bit in love with what he had to say and how he said it by delving into his blog Terrible Minds.

Then it occurred to me. Dude writes BOOKS. I love BOOKS. I'm going to buy one of his books.

And oh, my.

I actually re-started, for full effect & to be able to read straight through, as this book so deserves.

Fabulously phenomenal, ATLANTA BURNS straight-up kicks ass.

Buy this. Read it. Tell a friend. Or a stranger.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
January 7, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/


The last guy who did was her momma’s boyfriend. Atlanta didn’t take too kindly to his unwelcome advances . . .

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After spending a few months in the loony bin as punishment, Atlanta is back at school where she makes a couple of new friends in need of help dealing with some Neo-Nazi type bullies and a girl who wants Atlanta to bust up the local dog fighting ring. Looks like it’s time for Atlanta to adopt a new motto:

“Live fast, die young, leave a pretty-looking corpse.”

I came this close to not reading this one. The cover art had me thinking it was a graphic novel (not that there’s anything wrong with that … except my inability to read them on the Kindle). Endless gratitude to Dan for changing my mind. Now that I'm finished I find myself left with a predicament. I have no idea how to categorize Atlanta Burns. I mean, on the one hand this is a story that deals with subject matter such as hate crimes and guns and illegal drugs and dog fighting and child rape and everything else horrible that you would never want a youngster to read. Buuuuuuuut, on the other hand Atlanta is the most kick-ass young adult heroine I’ve ever come across so I would totally encourage older/very mature teens to read this story.

I’m at a bit of a loss for words and don’t really know how to “sell” this story, so I’m going to let some Atlanta quotes do it for me . . .

“Maybe next time? I’ll bring my shotgun. It’s got a taste for the blood of monstrous men.”

“She knows it was him who did this. Maybe not directly. But it was him. A rotten apple doesn’t fall far from its diseased tree.”

“Amazing how easy it is for a kid like me to buy cigarettes. I tucked a lighter in the pack for you.”
“I don’t smoke.”
“You do today. Go on, light one up. Get it good and cherry.” She lets the gun barrel drift toward him, though not at him, not yet. “Then put that cigarette out on your hand.”

“People are monsters for a reason. They don’t stop being monsters just because you thumb ‘em in the eye.”

“I’ll pop you like a water balloon.”
“You don’t got the balls,” he says.
“Don’t much need ‘em.”

“May I come up and talk?”
“You may –” He starts to take a step forward. “Long as you don’t mind picking birdshot out of your shiny teeth.”

“You come back here again, I’ll be handin’ you your balls in a cereal bowl.”

“Evil keeps on keepin’ on. At some point you gotta stand in the headlights and take your shot.”

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Wait . . . you ain't seen NOTHING yet:

“They say it gets better, but that’s a load of horseshit. Like one day you wake up and things are just easy. That bullies come and bullies go and eventually everything sorts itself out. It doesn’t. That’s not how the world works, and it won’t ever work that way. Somebody’s always going to be there to try to hold you down against the ground and kick you while you’re there. They’ll find a reason for it. An excuse. You’re black. You’re gay. You’re a girl who said no, or a boy who wants to be a girl. You’re different from them, and they make themselves feel better by making you feel like dirt.

It doesn’t get better.

It doesn’t get better on its own. But I am saying you can making it better. You can fight back. You can kick and scream and shove and make sure nobody gets the better of you. You can vote. You can punch. You can stand your ground and stick out your chin and take pride in who you are.

That’s how you really get ‘em. By being proud of yourself. By owning it and being awesome and giving them a big old middle finger that tells them no matter what they do, it won’t change you one teensy little bit. Let them be uncomfortable. Let them squirm. They don’t like who you are, then fuck ‘em.

You defeat them by being undefeatable. By being you.”

Good gravy is she fantastic! It's January 7th and I can GUAR.AN.DAMN.TEE that Atlanta will go down as one of my Top 10 main characters for all of 2015.

Chuck Wendig, I’ve never read you before, but you’ve got yourself a fan now. I’m sooooo ready to break my personal rule about reading the second book in a series. I NEED more Atlanta Burns in my life.

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ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,634 followers
May 11, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/02/20/b...

Atlanta Burns is the kind of book that takes time to percolate; after finishing the last page it had me feeling all discombobulated and I needed time to think on it for a bit. If you’re familiar with Chuck Wendig’s work then you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about. Never let it be said that the guy ever holds his punches when he tells his stories, and you can be sure this is not your run-of-the-mill Young Adult fare.

The book’s protagonist Atlanta Burns is a high school student who no one wants to mess with. But she’s been through some traumatic stuff, and her reputation came at a high cost. However, Atlanta’s not going to let what happened to her stop her from doing the right thing, and she’s definitely not one to stand by while bullies prey on the weak and the defenseless. There are some terrible people in this world, and armed with her shotgun and the moxie to match, Atlanta is going to do whatever it takes to stop them.

Two stories make up this book, “Shotgun Gravy” and “Bait Dog”. Both are powerful, yet not easy to read. In the first, Atlanta and her new friends go up against Neo-Nazis, crooked cops and bigoted bullies. The second story sees her attempting to break up a dog fighting ring and deals with the themes of animal cruelty and abuse. Atlanta’s world is a bleak and brutal place to be, and reading about things like lynching, sexual assault, tortured puppies, kids being burned with cigarettes and such, it’s hard not to get through this book without thinking, wow, people SUCK. It made me sick sometimes, it really did.

But works like these also have a place in YA fiction. Like this quote in the book says: “Life is equal parts strange and beautiful and horrible, and we’re tossed into it without a map or an instruction guide. Poems and stories have a way of helping us make sense of things.” And that’s how I see these stories in Atlanta Burns. It might not be pleasant and it might not be comfortable, but it’s important to face some of these issues head-on and not soften the blow because it’s true – one can argue that Wendig is painting things too dark but the sad reality is the things in this book do happen, and it would be a mistake to pretend they don’t. Atlanta Burns is a book that explores difficult subject matters, and exposes them in all its ugliness so that we as readers can process it, make sense of it for ourselves.

Wendig has a message here. It’s not so surprising that he went with the Neo-Nazis as his main baddies, though this book is peppered with a lot of despicable scum-baggy types as a whole. Thing is, in any slice of society you look at there’s bound to be good folks and bad folks, but in Atlanta Burns there seems to be an overrepresentation of the bad, and if I’m to be honest, even Atlanta herself is not entirely likeable. To Wendig’s credit though, he does attempt to shine a light in the dark of this whole “things don’t get better” bleakness. In this world of bigots, bullies and corrupt cops are characters like Mrs. Lewis, Steve AKA “Chomp-Chomp” or Detective Holger who show Atlanta that things can be different.

This was a wonderful read. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you against some of the shocking, horrible things that are in this book. It’s categorized as Young Adult, but definitely not typical of the genre. Calling Atlanta Burns a dark book is an understatement; it deals with some very mature themes, and even some adults may find parts of it difficult to read especially if they are sensitive to those particular subjects. I really enjoyed this book, but as always with Chuck Wendig, reader discretion is advised.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
3,000 reviews1,643 followers
March 28, 2015
I was prepared for gritty. And dark. I wish the author had been. I made it farther than I expected with the book because Wendig does a great job with Atlanta, herself. He nails that fragile toughness that is the heart of the character—someone who has suffered abuse but fought her way out, mostly on her own. Atlanta captures your heart almost immediately and she's brilliantly drawn.

Unfortunately, the story itself is full of author manipulation that I found both intrusive and completely unbelievable. Even if you could find some snake pit where a gay kid can die in such suspicious circumstances and have law enforcement shrug and call it a suicide I really can't see that not blowing up as soon as anybody on a higher level caught wind of it—something that'd take about ten seconds given how openly gay he was (and how connected on social media). Much of our regional, let alone national, media would jump on a story like that and blow the crap out of it (rightly so, I hasten to add, as the cracks in that story were so obviously crap) and Mr. hateful bigshot would find himself loathed on a national stage where he'd find out how very small his little pond is.

But cracks showed up even before that. I mean, having Atlanta take a treasured heirloom from Mr. bigshot at gunpoint (with three adult witnesses, one of them a cop) without any repercussion was just stupid. Even if she got out of the building with it, and even if you posit that he'd be embarrassed about her getting the drop on him, and even if you figure he couldn't use legal channels to recover the ring (which is just silly, really), I just can't see him letting that go. Months pass and still nothing. I mean, he's a vindictive bastard and I just can't imagine him not taking Atlanta aside some lonely night and dangling her by her ankles over a rabid pit-bull until she tells him where it is. And when she says "oh, I dumped it in a pond, suck it." I'd see him taking her there and telling her to go get it and don't bother coming out until she has it. I mean, either he considers himself an above-the-law badass or he doesn't. You can't really have it both ways and take me with you.

But the final break came when Atlanta arranged to put herself under cover in a dog fight. I mean, come on! She's known as a bleeding heart protector of the weak at this point. You can't tell me that wouldn't blow up in her face in a really bad way. And by that, I mean in a fatally bad way. I didn't go far enough for her to get there, but even having her get an entre to the event is just stupid—particularly given that she's directly and personally antagonized some of the people who live in the actual compound where it takes place. It's at this point that I gave up.

I loved Atlanta. I wanted more of her. But Wendig's world of cartoon grit and paper tigers was unworthy of her. Yeah, bad things happened. But it felt like Wendig chose which consequences would fall and which wouldn't based on some opaque algorithm that only he understood. If your character is going to be tough but fragile, then let those chips freaking fall and take us there, for heaven's sake...
Profile Image for Mr. Matt.
288 reviews82 followers
March 13, 2015
Atlanta Burns is one seriously messed up young lady. Somewhere between 17 and 18 years old she has seen far more than anyone her age should see. Living in rural Pennsylvania, she tries to hold it together. She tries to fit in, but somehow, after you've blown the nards off of your mother's perverted boyfriend you don't really fit in. The world of ordinary teenagers in out of her reach. She doesn't do facebook or talk for long hours on the phone. She's damaged. Atlanta undoubtedly has PTSD. She definitely has a reputation. And she definitely isn't putting up with bullshit any longer.

Returning to school and her old life, she encounters a couple of punks picking on a Hispanic kid, she steps in, kicks some ass and saves the kid, Shane. And so begins her long journey through the underbelly of her rural PA community - keelhauled might be a better description. Atlanta encounters Neo-Nazis, gay-bashing and murder, dog fighting rings, and corrupt cops. She threatens to break several times, but rather than weaken her, her traumatic past has tempered her into something hard and unyielding. No more bullshit. Despite being only 17 or 18, she takes names and settles scores.

This was a powerful book. Being the father of two girls about Atlanta's age, I already know how traumatic being a teenage girl can be. The author takes that and piles on another layer of pain and angst. I felt for Atlanta. I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that it would be OK, but I know that she wouldn't like that. She'd push me away. I thought Wendig captured her spirit well. She wanted her mother - she wanted someone to help her - but she was not sure how or was unwilling to ask for that help.

It was also powerful for someone with two (rescue) dogs. Wendig gives his readers a glimpse into the dark underbelly of dog fighting. I was both revolted and compelled to read. I seriously cannot believe that this is really a thing - that people do this. But they do. Unfortunately. On that note, Atlanta's attachment to Whitey was perfect. It softened Atlanta and also tugged at the heart strings. Well done.

Four and a half stars rounded down to four. I really liked the book, but I wonder who really is the market for the book. Is it really young adult? What parent would let their 13, 14 or 15 year old read this? It deals with some really seriously heavy stuff - rape, suicide, drugs, etc. A kid who is on the edge and dealing with shades of this stuff might react poorly. Maybe. I don't know. Really good book, but pretty heavy stuff. No sunshine, unicorns and rainbows here.
Profile Image for Mauoijenn.
1,127 reviews114 followers
January 19, 2015
*NetGalley book review*

Awesomesauce!! Woot!! Outstanding!!
Let's face it. We either were Atlanta in high school or needed her, desperately. I had been meaning to read Wendig before, but now I'm on the look out for his other works. This was packed with suspense, drama, laughs and just enjoyable reading. Long live Atlanta!!!!
Profile Image for Steven.
1,089 reviews393 followers
January 8, 2015
First off, thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this Chuck Wendig gem.

Oh, Chuck. You never cease to disappoint. You write dark, gritty stories with realistic, flawed, root-for-able (I know it's not a word) characters. The three books out in the Miriam Black series were some of my favorite reads of last year, and like those, I devoured this one in less than 24 hours.

The titular main character, Atlanta Burns, is a FRIGGIN' BADASS. I can tell you right now, on January 8th, that she is going to be one of my top favorite characters of 2015. She's rough around the edges, has been through hell and back, and has decided that, with all the corruption and evil around her and adults who won't do anything about it, she is going to take a stand against the darkness.

Her slowly growing circle of friends are fantastic supporting characters.

I love that Wendig seems to be able to write gay characters that are totally defined by their gayness, geeks that LOVE their nerdy things but find courage and heroism in themselves, broken people realizing that the best way to put themselves back together is not to retreat and hide but to work on fixing the world around them.

On the opposite side of the coin, he's also able to write sufficiently evil villains. And they don't have to have grand motives -- they're just men or women or kids led astray by the temptations of the darker things of the world, people pushed into bad situations and rather than finding a light to get out of that darkness, choose to embrace it and lose themselves to it.

I'm not going to lie to you... this book was a hard read. It's got a lot of vile subjects: rape, abuse, bigotry, animal abuse, dogfighting, drugs, parental neglect, violence, murder, corruption... all hard things to read about, but all real things from our real world put down onto page. But where you find this darkness, you also find hope, loyalty, bravery, goodness, kindness, strength, courage, heroism, compassion, duty, justice... and Wendig's balance of the two and his plotting the good things rising from the pit of bad is spot on in this one (and to be fair, pretty much everything he writes).
Profile Image for Stephanie.
352 reviews9 followers
March 4, 2015
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Looks like Miriam Black has a little sister from another mister...

Meet Atlanta Burns, a girl who has been pushed too far, a girl who has seen too much and who has decided that she has had ENOUGH!

I struggle a bit with the YA classification for this new series. They are just as dark as the Miriam Black series and in some ways even more harsh. There are some really serious issues addressed in this book, mostly hate crimes against gay and foreign people, rape and abuse, along with animal torture and killing. This is not for the faint of heart.

I loved it but I was already a fan of Chuck Wendig. Loved it, recommend it, but be warned that the subject matter is adult and could be a trigger for some folks.
Profile Image for Ian.
1,365 reviews188 followers
November 3, 2018
Atlanta Burns just wants to be left alone. Then one day while she's walking home from school she comes across a gang of bullies beating on someone and she steps in. In very short order the bullies are on the ground with a face full of bear mace and she and Shane are on their way.

With Shane spreading the word about what she has done she soon finds herself the defender of the weak and the deepest, darkest nightmare of the bullies. But with a town overflowing with white supremacists, gangsters, rednecks and corrupt police, her life is only going to get more complicated.

Atlanta Burns isn't my typical book but I guess the one recurring theme in most of the books I read is they are about strong and determined women. Well, Atlanta Burns is about the strongest of the lot. She reminded me more than just a little of Tank Girl, a comic book heroine from the late 1980s. So if you're in the mood for a kick-ass anti-hero who takes on the bad guys and somehow manages to scrape through and be the last woman standing, Atlanta Burns is your woman.

Awesome book!!!

Many thanks to Skyscape and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC
Profile Image for Stephanie Swint.
165 reviews40 followers
January 25, 2015
Wendig can craft a wonderful sentence and transport you to his settings. They may be broken and unhappy settings, but you can see, smell and taste them. By all accounts I enjoyed this book. It’s a great story of a victimized white-trash girl making good and turning herself into a teenage, real-life super-hero, helping not only herself, but other disenfranchised students at her school. My concern is not with the writing of this book but it’s research.

A quarter of the way through Atlanta buys a pack of “cheap”cigarettes. Wendig chose American Spirits and talks about the Native American picture on the front of the pack. I can see why the brand appealed to him. It fits a gritty noir vibe Wendig goes for. The problem with this is American Spirits aren’t cheap. They are an expensive brand because they are made on Reservation land and don’t contain the additives other cigarettes do. I know this not because I did research, but because if you spent time with the people Atlanta would you know it. If you have spent any time around smokers you know this. Atlanta would definitely know this. This simple error shocked me out of the story. It made me think that Wendig didn’t know what he’s talking about. If he gets this small stuff wrong it will alienate readers who grew up in an environment like the one Wendig focuses on in the book.

As a reader, I tend to separate the author from their books. As long as it rings true I don’t care. I don’t check on the authors credibility. I tried to ignore the error and write it of as a stylistic choice, but I kept seeing other small errors like it. I ended up researching Wendigs history…and decided it is irrelevant. The problem is if I went looking others will to. If it was an adult book I wouldn’t care as much. With YA, however, your research needs to accurate. Maybe not with urban fantasy or paranormal books but ones dealing with serious issues such as molestation, hate crimes, and racism you do. I don’t recommend stylistic choices or creative license with this kind of YA. Working with at-risk teenagers, one thing I learned is they will crucify you if you get this stuff wrong – with some justification. Truthfully, a part of me got angry and started throwing terms like poser around in my stewing brain. It took me a minute to figure out why I was having such a strong negative reaction.

Wendig has a good book here. He also has a reputation of his research being accurate. He did so with the Miriam Black series. I had a hard time with Miriam because I know a real non-paranormal version of her. I had to give him credit for bringing to life this character that you feel sympathetic towards despite her sociopathic behavior. I believed he must have had some real world experience and gave him the credit for it. I wish he had done his research as well this time so I didn’come away disillusioned – justifiably or not. I came away feeling he had appropriated poor culture. This may sound strange but there isn’t a lot great about being poor and definitely not about being young and poor. The claim to fame is you survived it. I started to feel that Wendig sat back and said who can I make the bad guy? Atlanta is supposed to help the disenfranchised so who can be the bad guy? I know! White-trash neo-Nazis! I say good choice. I’ve no love for neo Nazis, who does? – except for neo Nazis. I know Wendig does not want to discriminate. He mentioned so in his blog. However, with Atlanta Burns, he could be perceived as discriminating against a socio-economic class. He has white neo Nazis; poor pedophiles; a poor white slut; a set of poor white trash, home schooled, Irish twins that kidnap bait dogs; a weak single mother who doesn’t work, lives off the system, and who didn’t protect her daughter; etc. The Amish and Mennonites are only used in reference to being the dirty side of town and for selling expired food. Each of these characters need to be there, they exist, but it came off feeling wrong. All that effort to be politically correct, to the point it’s almost painful, and he missed socio-economic class. There had to have been one good poor adult in that town.

At some point I realized I was reading an ARC and was so glad. It meant I could give feedback. I didn’t hear anything back but I do think it was a mistake, and one I’m betting was fixed. You will have to tell me – those of you reading the finalized copy after the publish date. I will cross my fingers. Let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

I received this from Netgalley and Amazon Children’s publishing in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sjgomzi.
239 reviews132 followers
May 22, 2020
I’ve been on a roll lately, seeking out some of my favorite author’s lesser known works, because I’m just weird that way. Whenever someone in the book community suggests a new author to me, I almost always seek out their most obscure piece of work, and start there. Breaking from my normal habit, I first discovered Chuck Wendig through his Miriam Black series, and speaking of which, if you haven’t read through that spectacular series, what are you waiting for? I went on to love his Star Wars books, and his end of the world magnum opus, Wanderers. Well, after all that, I thought it high time I started at the beginning.
The Atlanta Burns books are marketed as young adult, but they are anything but. Wendig doesn’t tone anything down here, the creative Wendig profanity and gratuitous violence are both present, along with suicide, sexual assault, cruelty to animals, nazis, hate crimes...the list goes on and on. The title character plays like a younger earlier version of Miriam Black, but without the supernatural hocus pocus, and she’s a hell of a main character. Forced to commit an act of violence that haunts her nightmares, and becoming a sort of go to person for the oppressed and bullied at her school, she’s my favorite kind of protagonist. Damaged, and flawed, channeling all the pain of her past into determination, and strength. I actually found myself cheering out loud at times, but it’s not all triumph and good times for Atlanta. This book is dark at times, seriously, dark, and fucked up things happen to good people here. No one is safe. Some of the events that occur here made my cry, made me sweat, and one event in particular almost made me throw the book across the room. This book is made up of two novellas, Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, but they fit together so beautifully, you won’t notice any stitching together of the stories. They work together perfectly as one novel. I’ve gone on and on about how awesome Atlanta is, but I also want to mention in closing, there is a great supporting cast present, all contributing in large ways to this grim story, and I became just as attached to them as I was to Atlanta.
I’m a firm believer that you can’t have a great hero without great villains to challenge them, to bring out those heroic characteristics, and Wendig has created some here that will make your insides boil, and make it all the more pleasing when Atlanta takes her baton and shotgun to them! Kaboom!
There are two books available in this series, but I plan on waiting a while before I dive back into this world. First reason being, this story tore me up, frayed my nerves, and made me scream, as only the best books can, and secondly, I kind of liked where he left things at the end, and I’m happy to let our heroine have some peace and quiet for a bit. I know I won’t last long though. 2 hours past finishing this, and I’m already itching for Atlanta to pick up her shotgun, find some bullying assholes, and fuck their world up, because someone has to.
Profile Image for Tammy.
866 reviews144 followers
February 13, 2015
4 1/2 stars!!

The nitty-gritty: A tough read full of unhappy people, but with a glimmer of hope at the end.

“Maybe next time? I’ll bring my shotgun. It’s got a taste for the blood of monstrous men.

“You can’t go like this forever. At some point you gotta be a normal girl.”

“If you say so.”

Chuck Wendig never fails to make me feel something, which is one of the most important things a writer can do for his readers. So when I picked up Atlanta Burns, I was expecting a gritty, action-packed story of a girl who solves crimes (OK, so I latched on to the blurb that compares it to Veronica Mars), because it’s Chuck Wendig, who does gritty really well. But I was not expecting this book at all. I would have to say Atlanta Burns got me more worked up emotionally than I’ve ever been while reading a book. I nearly didn’t finish it. When I got to the end of chapter thirty-three, my first reaction was to beat my Kindle to death and swear off Chuck Wendig for good. Because he had just broken my heart.

But after turning out the light and trying to go to sleep (and not being able to), I decided I might as well finish the story. I mean, there were only a few chapters left. And boy am I glad I did. I can’t tell you what made me change my mind about the book, because I don’t want to spoil the story. But let’s just say that glimmer of hope I mentioned up there? The door cracked open just a bit and let the light through—a murky and dim light, but light nonetheless. I finished this book wanting very badly to read the next installment.

Atlanta is a high school girl who lives in near poverty with her mother, a woman who can barely take care of herself, let alone her daughter. One day after school she inadvertently rescues a boy named Shane who is being bullied by a couple of schoolyard thugs. Before long, Atlanta is drawn into the hopeless lives of other students who are being bullied for being gay, Venezuelan, poor, etc. With her trusty shotgun and a generous supply of Adderall from her drug dealer friend Guy, Atlanta sets out to save as many lives as she can.

But when she is asked to investigate why dogs are disappearing from an affluent neighborhood, Atlanta finds herself in the middle of a dog fighting ring. Everything’s going to hell, fast, but Atlanta’s made a promise to try to shut down the Farm, and she isn’t one to give up easily.

The story takes some hot topic issues, mixes them together, and gives us a bleak and violent world, where bullying and hate crimes are the norm. Wendig comes right out and lays his issues on the table, and he doesn’t ever flinch. In case you’re wondering what the big trigger was for me, I’ll tell you, because if you're a dog lover like me, you deserve a warning. Part of the book deals with Atlanta trying to shut down a dog fighting ring, and if there’s anything that will make me stop reading a book, it’s cruelty to animals. I knew this part was coming, but I wanted to see if I could get through it. And I did, mostly. Wendig shows us the grim realities of this terrible sport without going overboard. One of the best parts of this story is a dog called Whitey, and I’ll just leave it at that.

I’m going to tell you something you might not want to hear: none of the characters in Atlanta Burns are particularly likable. (Well, except for Atlanta’s English teacher Mrs. Lewis, who didn’t get enough page-time, in my opinion.) Otherwise, this story is populated by the following nasty and unlovable people: drug dealers; bullies; dog killers; dog thieves; teens who drink; teens who do drugs; Neo-Nazis; unfit mothers; corrupt law enforcement; and one Atlanta Burns, a teen who has recently “spent time away” because she shot the balls off her mother’s boyfriend (he was sexually abusing her). Atlanta has some serious baggage, not the least of which is her absentee mother who is in worse shape than she is. Until she meets a couple of nerdy kids who need her help—Chris, a gay teen, and Shane, a Venezuelan boy—both who have been mercilessly bullied. And I’m not talking call-you-a-faggot or stuff-dog-shit-in-your-locker bullying. This shit goes way beyond that, into the territory of physical pain.

But despite the unlikable-ness of Atlanta in the beginning of the book, she did grow on me, and I have to admit by the end I was completely in her corner. Wendig has a way of making you believe that all this could happen to one girl, in one small town. I don’t know how it happened, but I went from hating Atlanta Burns to loving it. Wendig pushed me into a pit of despair and made me claw my way out, then he showed me a glimpse of a beautiful sunset. Not bad for a book that I almost didn’t finish.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Above quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof, and may differ in the final version of the book.

This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy.
Author 10 books32 followers
March 7, 2016
I got this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Reading ‘Atlanta Burns’ is a bit like taking a rusty aluminum bat to the gut. Far from a pleasant experience, but you’re not likely to forget how it made you feel. . . This book is a tough little bastard.

Our title character Atlanta Burns (which might rank as one of my favorite holy-shit-awesome names ever) is a high school girl with a reputation for using a shotgun for solving her problems. She’s a rape survivor, used the shotgun to send her mom’s boyfriend to the hospital (and prison), and since then she’s seen as the outsider at school – both feared and looked upon with some kind of awe. After saving a kid from bullies, he takes her to his gay friend who’s been brutalized by kids at school. She investigates, she doles out justice, and she faces the consequences for kicking the hornet’s nest one time too many.

I've read ‘Atlanta Burns’ described as “Winter’s Bone meets Veronica Mars” and I totally get that. I’d throw Justified in there, too. Like Winter’s Bone, ‘Atlanta Burns’ is a backwoods noir. Instead of the dark alleys, the sleazy night clubs, and the dangerous femme fatales, here we get rusty barbwire fences, backwards thinking gun clubs, and a skanky Nazi bitch. It’s cool, it’s original, and it’s full of interesting characters.

It’s not always an enjoyable read, though. Actually, more often than not, it’s a fairly difficult read. Bullying, sexual assault, animal cruelty, hate crimes, and police corruption are just a handful of the dark themes that are seen throughout ‘Atlanta Burns.’ There was a time when I basically had to set the book aside for a week. It was getting to me. A sign of a well-written book, yes, I agree. . . but it’s also a book that I just can’t recommend to every person I know. You gotta be a tough cookie for a book like this.

The story works ultimately thanks to Atlanta and her friends. There’s so much awful ugliness in their world, but Atlanta seems like the perfect antihero to combat it. She’s one of my new favorite heroines. Tough but vulnerable, flawed but likable. If it weren’t for the strong character at the center of the story, all the rest would simply be too much to bear.

It’s a good book and I’ll be interested to see where Wendig takes his characters from here. . . But I gotta admit that it is gonna be a while before I’m ready to dive back into the mud and blood for round 2. Reading this book was a draining experience. I liked it, but I’m happy to be released from that world.
Profile Image for Lila.
845 reviews9 followers
December 9, 2019
"Like she’s a poisonous toad or toxic jellyfish—interesting to look at, but for God’s sake, do not touch."


Meet Atlanta Burns.
Reluctant hero of gay kids and awkward nerds.
Savior of puppies.
Thorn in bigot's ass.
So, what if she sleeps with a shotgun? Some people need nightlight and a teddy bear- she is cool with comforting presence of her single-shot .410 bore scattergun.
From terrible mind of Chuck Wendig, comes unusual heroine with coolest name ever and it goes with reputation.


I keep thinking that this book is like one giant mash of opposite things:

It's Young Adult book, but for adults.
These days, putting anything in boxes, with firmly determined boundaries calls for challenging and defying it- same goes with genres. If we are to call some book YA because main character is still in high school and there are no sex scenes... then Atlanta Burns fits the bill. Still, if you are thinking of buying it to teen reader, thread carefully: this book tackles some really disturbing themes like cruelty to animals, gay bashing,murder, torture and sexual abuse of a minor. Nothing is smoothed ever or toned down- Wending is showing human evil in its truest, filterless sense, and if anything, narrator's age just made it even more disturbing for me.

It's over-the-top, but somehow uncomfortably realistic.
This book covers two previously published novellas: Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog. In first one, Atlanta is taking on Neo-Nazi cult who are in the business of bulling and torturing gay kids. In second one, Atlanta is trying to shot down illegal dog-fighting ring. Villains, action scenes, Atlanta's voice - it's like Tarantino's movie, with ridiculous, pulpy premise that this kid is actually pulling this off.
But under all that plot whack-a-mole that calls for suspension of disbelief, reader is aware that bulling or abuse exists and it looks exactly like it was depicted in books. It's not dog baits that will sound like stretch of imagination...it's the fact that anyone can do anything about it.

It's funny as hell, but serious as death.
Atlanta's voice is priceless- she is this sassy, foul-mouthed bad ass kid with low bullshit tolerance level. It has that peculiar, smart and quirky Wendig humor:

What is this?” Mrs. Lewis asks. The woman’s got some mean eyebrows. Like two fuzzy caterpillar lovers, straining to reach one another, trying to make out. Now those furry brows are scrunched up tight.
“You heard me.”
“It’s my paper,” Atlanta says with some authority. Because, duh, it is.
“It’s one page.”
“Thank you. Yes.”
“I asked for a seven-page paper.”
Atlanta blinks. “Yeah. I know. And mine’s one page.”
“Do you remember how you ended the paper?” Mrs. Lewis asks. “Do you remember how you reached the conclusion that resolves your thesis?”
Atlanta does remember. But she just shrugs instead, lets the teacher talk through it.
“This one sentence just . . . trails off and the ending is replaced by ‘blah blah blah.’”
“I thought it was a nice commentary on the futility of collecting information and, uhh, synthesizing, ummm. Thought patterns.” Atlanta nods, having settled that. “Yeah. Synthesizing thought patterns."

Smartass. :)
Now serious as death part comes from the fact that Atlanta is dealing with heavy personal trauma that left her with shakes and panic attacks. Majority of time, she tries to fool others with her careless poking and lack of fear, but reader knows she was throwing in bathroom after. She is a scared kid who is in over her head and nobody is there to help her.

Can't wait to see where will Wendig take Atlanta next. It seems that every time she handles one shit, next one comes piling up.
Profile Image for Silea.
228 reviews14 followers
March 9, 2015
I'm not sure what this book is about.

Is it about standing up to bullies? Because all we learn is that shooting them or dousing them in bear mace or other violent means simply escalates the whole affair.

Are we supposed to learn that sexual assault has serious, long-term psychological consequences? Holy wow, is that a secret? We, as a society, should not need novels to teach us that. That's horrifying.

Are we supposed to learn that sexual assault is the secret sauce that turns normal girls into vigilante bad-***es? Because it doesn't. That's a horrible message. Even if only one in a thousand readers of this book internalized that message in any way, it's horrifying. I feel dirty even typing that.

So then, what are we left with? A sexual assault survivor who is both suffering under the daily burden of PTSD and is so activated by the trauma that she goes out and physically assaults bad people doing bad things. If there's a message here, it's lost on me.
Profile Image for  Simply Sam ツ.
605 reviews78 followers
August 24, 2016
The writing is really good. I totally get the Veronica Mars vibe, yay, and I really liked the characters and the atmosphere he's created (he threw a little bit of the Heartland in there too which I loved!). Buuut....the story just felt off to me. A lot of actions didn't add up and the author required an incredible amount of suspended belief. Overall, it's a decent read that would have been better with more solid and believeable plot.
Profile Image for Asiya.
97 reviews40 followers
February 7, 2017
Whoa. Atlanta is my role model. Such a brave girl.

This book address hate crimes and talks about the Neo-Nazi community in the US.

Profile Image for heidi.
315 reviews56 followers
February 4, 2015
Hmm. This was an interesting book. There were several things to like about it. Atlanta Burns, herself, is a nicely-balanced character with strengths and weaknesses like any other person. She has an animating hatred of people preying on the weak, a legitimate beef against guys touching her, and a pottymouth. But she also has had almost all the softness burned out of her, because even as the book progresses, she doesn't so much have friends as sidekicks. It's like she can't bring herself to fully trust anyone, which is both in-character and a major weakness for her. I also liked the depiction of "Pennsultucky". It rang true to me, as a person who came from another redneck part of the country.

Many of the things that frustrated Atlanta frustrated me, too. Her mother's ineffectiveness was a leading cause of hair-pulling on my part.

There is harm to animals. Atlanta is like what would happen to Encyclopedia Brown if he never had cause to believe in adults. So it is no surprise that she takes on a dog-fighting ring. But in order for you to see how bad it is, you get a lot of dog fighting and the consequences thereof. There is harm to people. There is bullying and suicide(?) and a raft of abusive adults.

I think all these elements could have been combined in a way that got more stars from me. They are solid in their own right, or at least not dealbreakers. The thing that was a dealbreaker for me was that Atlanta only felt like a consensual actor about a quarter of a time. She thinks about walking away, but her feet stay glued. She knows she should stand her ground, but finds herself attacking people. Effectively, she has the impulse control of a toddler. Only toward the end does she decide to act, formulate a plan, and follow through on it, and even then she finds herself running without meaning to. I felt that trope in this book really undermined Atlanta's genuine courage and big-heartedness. It smacked unpleasantly of those old-school romance novels where He forces a kiss on Her, and she just melts in his arms. It is without volition. I wanted to read about a girl with volition, not just reaction.

Read if: You want to read a semi-sympathetic version of rural Pennsylvania. You like feisty, potty-mouthed redheads. Violence and vengeance as solutions are narrative kinks for you.

Skip if: You can't take hard to animals, realistic depictions of bullying and suicide, or your hero maiming people.

Read instead: Wen Spencer's Alien Taste.

Oh, an as a person who lives with someone who uses Adderall as prescribed, I really wish it had not been the drug choice for Atlanta's abuse. It makes it harder for the people who really need it.
Profile Image for J.
275 reviews3 followers
March 1, 2015
I had a difficult time with Atlanta Burns. Wendig dedicates it to those who have been bullied, but his apparent solution is to create a character who has been raped by one of her mother's boyfriends, carries a shotgun, and resorts to violent means in order to get back at the bullies. The message is a bit mixed. If you want things to get better, than you have to fight back. But fighting back in the book leads to more violence and Atlanta, the main character, getting into dangerous and more harmful situations for both her and the people she's trying to teach a lesson. Have shotgun, will travel, really.

The writing feels a bit drafty - choppy sentences with an unpolished sparseness that's meant to describe the action but just leads to confusing passages of action. It's a bit like a school writing assignment where the author is aiming to shock the reader as much as send a message. Conceptually Atlanta Burns is rather loose and a bit aimless at times. Atlanta's backstory doesn't come out early leading to some confusion throughout the first section. Then there is the language. The early section in particular is full of harsh language and the whole book is plagued by stereotypes non only in describing characters but in how they are often referred. If you don't like violent books and those that use certain four letter words, you best avoid this one.

I find myself at a loss as to why this book has been so highly rated because I found little to like. I never felt a connection to any characters and Atlanta is much more antihero than hero from my reading. Flawed protagonist barely does her or her vigilante idea of fighting the bullies justice. For as much as Wendig tries to highlight the diversity in the book it comes off feeling forced when compared with the baddies who are all basically stereotypes of white privilege and pride. As a result, I cannot in good conscience recommend this. Even as a morality tale it falls short.

Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Maraia.
471 reviews177 followers
January 15, 2016
Atlanta Burns is the fourth Chuck Wendig book I've read, and although it's not quite as mind-blowing as the Miriam Black series, I still enjoyed it a lot. Atlanta is every bit as feisty and foul-mouthed as Miriam, but her willingness to let other people in allows for some great secondary characters. I especially like the message that it's okay to be weird, that everyone is a little screwed up, and that it's not the responsibility of the bullied to change themselves in order to be accepted - the blame lies entirely on the bullies. Bonus points for lots of nerd love, including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, and Sherlock references!

"They don't ask, How do we stop bullies? Instead those assholes say, How can we get these stupid kids to stop painting bull's-eyes on their foreheads? They put the blame on the victims, not the victimizers."
She's tired. Bedraggled. All parts of her feel like a paper cut with lemon juice squeezed over it.
She can't help it, but she laughs. It's not that she thinks dead murdered dogs are funny--but her brain concocts a really weird version of the board game Clue where a bunch of uppity rich white folks chase terriers and retrievers around a mansion with various found weapons. It was Colonel Mustard who killed the Yorkie. In the kitchen. With a rubber doggy bone!
It's hard realizing your parent is just another crazy, screwed up human being. Just like everyone else ever.

Profile Image for Kelsea Yu.
Author 8 books135 followers
June 3, 2018
WHOA. This was intense! Badass reluctant vigilante Atlanta Burns vs. some truly villainous villains (not the newly popular lovable villains, just straight up hateful, horrible types). NOT an easy read or a happy look at human nature but also an oddly empowering story. Lots of morally grey characters and revenge elements. And major trigger warnings - including animal abuse/cruelty. I’ll prob continue the series but I’ll need a lighter breather book first. 😅
Profile Image for Samantha Ania.
470 reviews26 followers
March 21, 2017
This book took me awhile to get through. Not because it isn't good, it's very good, but because it's brutal. It doesn't let you catch your breath before coming in again. It deals with a lot of tough, real issues. I loved Atlanta. I loved her even when she was making mistakes. But go in warned. Dogs and people are hurt in this book, hurt badly.
Profile Image for Becca.
160 reviews
March 6, 2017
I'm not sure what to think of this book. Sure Atlanta sounds like a bad mamba jamba and at times acts like it. Defender of the innocent, weird, defenseless, and socially unacceptable makes her seem honorable. But then reading through it I had little moments of thinking otherwise. The storyline is somewhat interesting. But the niggling feeling came when certain details popped up. And I still can't get past the fact that she named her dog Whitey when she was dealing with neo-nazis...it just seems like a massive no no. I get the dog is white, but seriously naming a dog a somewhat racist name just seems foolish on the author's part. Maybe that's the point. Oh well, I guess I'll just take it at face value and let it go considering she's trying to stop said bad guys.
Profile Image for Francesca.
1,611 reviews120 followers
January 17, 2015
Atlanta Burns di Chuck Wendig raccoglie due storie già edite dell’autore, completamente revisionate e unite a formare un unico romanzo.

Protagonista del romanzo è l’omonima “eroina” (anche se narrativamente incarna molto più le vesti dell’anti-eroe) del titolo, Atlanta Burns.
Atlanta è scontrosa, atipica, un personaggio cupo e multiforme, con un profondo ma peculiare senso della giustizia e di cosa sia giusto o sbagliato, che dopo diversi traumi personali e familiari sta cercando di riprendere in mano la sua vita, farsi alcuni amici (suo malgrado, apparentemente, e con difficoltà) si trova ad affrontare situazioni quali il bullismo, violenza, iniquità, crimini, combattimenti clandestini tra cani, a scontrarsi neonazisti e funzionari di polizia corrotti.
Il trauma che ha sofferto e l’ha resa tale è solo accennato e mai rivelato, quasi a sottolineare qualcosa che il subconscio non vuole riportare a galla.

Tuttavia, Atlanta non è affatto la ragazza perfetta e pura che combatte il male, anzi, lei stessa è un personaggio estremamente duro, scuro, che non esita a usare in prima persona la violenza per fare quello che pensa e crede sia giusto.
Non mancano, tuttavia, degli spiragli che rendono meno oppressivo questo cupore: infatti, Atlanta spesso riflette su se stessa, rivelando delle fragilità nascoste e sperando segretamente di cambiare – lei stessa, quanto le situazioni negative che ha attorno.
Essendo soltanto una ragazzina del liceo, talora il personaggio può risultare un po’ esagerato e irrealistico per quello che affronta, benché è indubbio che quello che ha dovuto passare l’abbia fatta crescere in fretta.

La trama in qualche punto risente un po’ di essere fondata su due storie differenti, benché alcuni personaggi siano ricorrenti, tuttavia nel complessivo risulta ben organizzata, avvincente, di sicuro originale, che non ripercorre cliché di alcun tipo – men che meno quelli del genere YA, al quale vagamente questo romanzo si può ascrivere (benché per il linguaggio e i temi trattati, ritengo non sia molto adatto).
Lo stile è quello classico e più che apprezzabile di Wendig: secco, duro, a volte persino lapidario, spesso violento e mimetico dei suoi personaggi borderline e alternativi.

Ennesima, ottima prova di questo (prolifico!) autore, che rivela di aver pienamente maturato un proprio stile e proprie tematiche e di saper regalarci romanzi mai scontati e appassionanti.
Profile Image for Tara Chevrestt.
Author 27 books295 followers
February 20, 2015
Atlanta Burns is not a chick to be messed with. When a boyfriend of her mother's came at her with ill intentions of the sexual sort, she shot him in the you-know-whats with a shotgun. When a fellow classmate comes to her with burns all over his body and needs her help with a White Supremacist group who's bullying him, she grabs her shotgun. When a girl comes to her wanting to know what happened to her dog, she heads into the nasty world of dog fighting.

She's a really tough teenager, but this is not a young adult book. Atlanta does drugs and other things parents don't want their kids doing. She also thinks she should just be given a B-plus in school due to the bad things that have happened her.

She's hard to like at times. And to be honest, this book was hard to like at times. It's an ugly story that takes place in an ugly town full of the ugliest people. I was really enjoying Atlanta and her kick-ass-iness for a while but then I realized I was meeting a LOT of ugly people in this town--the bullies, their parents, the dog fight folks, the "twins". And the things they do...to others, to dogs. I got tired of it.

I began say, "Seriously? Everyone in this town is pure evil?" Because the things they do...and there are so many of them. It seems everyone Atlanta meets is horrid and nasty and ready to shove chili peppers in places I won't mention, hang people, or pull out all of a dog's teeth. Or they're selling drugs. There's one decent adult, a teacher. That's it.

I will not be visiting any Podunk town in Pennsylvania, that's for sure.

The dogfighting is of course, a very ugly thing. Mr. Wendig holds nothing back. I had to skim these parts; they were too difficult to me. I began to worry that someone would come abduct my toy breed dogs and do this to them. That's how vivid the scenes are. This author knows how to write. The ugliness came through the pages and frightened me.

Full review and final thoughts: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2015/...
Profile Image for Amanda.
365 reviews17 followers
April 1, 2016
Atlanta has had a pretty crappy time of it, culminating in shooting her mom's boyfriend. In. The. Balls. To be fair, he more than deserved it. Anyway, now she has helped herself, she's ready to help others.

Wowee Atlanta Burns is like Veronica Mars on steroids! I absolutely loved this. What a brilliant character Chuck Wendig has written, full of spark and life. She tumbles off the page! I don't want to pigeonhole this book, suffice to say it's a fantastic read.
Profile Image for Sara.
81 reviews4 followers
October 25, 2015
Not what I was expecting, but I did enjoy it in the end. Very graphic, gratuitous violence. There was a point I almost put the book down due to it, mainly the section involving the dogs. Due to that, not sure I'd be able to read anymore from this particular series (if there is going to be a series) it leaves off implying a potential. Just can't take animal abuse and violence.
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