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Girls on Fire

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  10,566 ratings  ·  1,394 reviews
On Halloween, 1991, a popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that sends tremors through this conservative community, already unnerved by growing rumors of Satanic worship in the region.

In the wake of this incident, b
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Harper
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Popular Answered Questions
Madi Adults. The characters are teenagers but this is a very violent and graphic book.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Water Moon That would be a cool twist! Unfortunately, it would not explain why Hannah has no knowledge of Lacey's history with Nikki and various relationships be…moreThat would be a cool twist! Unfortunately, it would not explain why Hannah has no knowledge of Lacey's history with Nikki and various relationships between the sets of parents in the book. I think Hannah and Lacey are very much separate people.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,566 ratings  ·  1,394 reviews

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Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to think of what to say to even do this book justice. Girls on Fire is the story of a destructive female friendship in all it’s glory. There is something so intense, obsessive, and even terrifying about teenage girls and their friendships. Robin Wasserman does an incredible job at capturing this in a powerful way.

Set in the early 90s, Girls on Fire follows seventeen year old Hannah Dexter as she becomes Dex, the girl Lacey sees her as. The two meet amidst a town tragedy, Craig Ellis
Emily May
DNF - 50%

I could keep going, but I'm just really not enjoying this. I can't shake the feeling that we’ve kind of already been here and done this thing.

Girls on Fire is yet another book with flowery prose, about a good girl who becomes involved with a bad girl. Their friendship spirals into a consuming, chaotic obsession that leads to all kinds of craziness - drugs, sex, satanism, etc.

The author employs many shock tactics to keep you reading, but in truth, the narrative is very repetitive, both
Andrew Smith
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book slaps you in the face on the first page and keeps on slapping you until it eventually gives you a good mugging and sends you off to recover, wondering at the sheer brute power of it all.

Set in a town in rural Pennsylvania, we learn of the suicide of a young basketball star at Halloween, 1991. He was found in the woods outside the town, with a gun in his hand and a bullet through his head. The town is small with an isolated, claustrophobic feel to it. The parents fear for their high sc
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 24, 2015 marked it as dnf-lost-interest
Shelves: giveaways
Would normally just remove from my books, but I won this as a Goodreads giveaway and don't want it to be marked as not reviewed. DNF this one, just skimmed major chunks as I couldn't get into it. Funny, this one and The Girls by Emma Cline were my 2 most anticipated summer reads, but I expected to love this one and be disappointed with the latter, but it ended up being flip flopped for me. I'm sure there's a major crowd for this one, just wasn't for me. ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
There has been a suicide in the small town of Battle Creek, one of the stars of the school went into the woods and took his life, leaving his super popular girlfriend Nikki to rule the school on her own.
Palm Springs commercial photography

She tortures everyone equally but Hannah Dexter feels like she singles her out. She loathes Nikki.

Cue in the new girl. Lacey.
Lacey wears Doc Martens, does as she pleases and thinks Kurt Cobain was the gift to the world.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Lacey becomes Hannah's new bestie. She makes Hannah into "Dex" who
Joe Valdez
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-general
My "Girls Girls Girls" jag continues with Girls On Fire, a foray into literary fiction by Robin Wasserman, who until the publication of this novel in 2016, had been dipping in the Young Adult pool. This was my introduction to the author, whose skills handling a poison pen and translating the venom of teenage girls onto the page are admirable, but whose inability to trust an adult reader, tell a story and get out of her own way turn the kitchen into a mess. I abandoned it at the page 256/356 mark ...more
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The blurb says that this 'stands alongside The Virgin Suicides in its brilliant portrayal of female adolescence, but with a power and assurance all its own'. This is certainly the case, but despite its themes, Eugenides' book is a quiet one. This is not: it is loud and brash and vibrant. It shouts at the reader. These girls do not take the path of quiet surrender, they push and fight and live. It is both a celebration of youth, the fire that burns within the young, and a warning that such fire c ...more
Elyse  Walters
Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I was curious about this book. I debated about requesting it from Netgalley at least a half dozen times.

I have mixed feelings. I don't hate it. Yet, I don't love it. I 'thought I was prepared for 'darkness'...but maybe not. I appreciate the authors talent... a skillful writer.

Yet, for me....( perhaps it's my mood, or age, 64 this month) , but I felt 'removed' rather than engaged from so much swearing...
let alone the violence.
I didn't feel the power - my emotions were not invested. I was obser
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

Hannah Dexter has lived in the same small town her entire life. As her father so eloquently puts it . . .

“You couldn’t shit your own bed in Battle Creek without your neighbor showing up to wipe your ass.”

The story takes place when the Real World was the hottest thing on television and Sun-In rather than Kool-Aid was a way for teens to change their hair color. It was a time when boy bands like this were popular . . . .

Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Es Summer
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it

"Try not to see them, I dare you.
Girls everywhere.
Nobody special, two nobodies.
Except that together, they're radioactive.
Together, they glow.
Watch them split a pair of earbuds and stare up at the clouds,
their secret soundtrack carving shapes in the sky."

Girls on Fire is everything I love in books nowadays.
Women empowerment dressed in flannel shirts, boots that can take over the world, sticky lip-glosses and flowery parfum.
This book shows the obsessive side of female friendships; how
Charlotte May
Not entirely sure wtf I just read. Felt like the author used extreme topics just for the sake of being extreme, rather than as a narrative or plot device.
'Average teen' Hannah Dexter meets Kurt Cobain loving rebel Lacey and shortly becomes her shadow, dressing like her, acting like her and generally doing whatever she says. Drugs, sex etc. follow.
When Lacey leaves Hannah feels lost and is swiftly picked up by 'it girl' Nikki Drummond who has an awful grudge against Lacey. Hannah's identity then
Rae Meadows
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
It doesn't surprise me that reviews have been all over the map for this book. I think Robin Wasserman is a super talented writer--the prose is propulsive, electric, the manic energy of the protagonists is compelling--but I don't know about the book. I liked reading it, but I wasn't moved. At times I felt like it was trying too hard, other times I got a little bored. It's not hard to guess the big plot reveals, though I kept reading to see how they would unfold. (I was reminded of that story of t ...more
Lala BooksandLala
Gah, I really loved this. It probably gets a 4.5 out of 5; I'm a sucker for a good gritty destructive female friendship story, and this one was superbly written. ...more
Liz Barnsley
So it's WAY too early to write a full review of Girls on Fire but for now I will say this.

It's a book I'm going to get fanatical about and will be trying to persuade everyone to read in 2016. It is powerful, hard hitting, so full of beautiful and yes often unrelentingly hard hitting language, the very definition of words having power. It sucked me in and stole my soul. On the list of reads I'll never forget this just went somewhere near the top of the pile.

I will read it again. And my "Quotes"
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this is a cracker!

This completely sucked me in from the very beginning, made me feel nostalgic about my own adolescence, messed around with my memories, distorting them, then spat me out the other end wondering which my real memories were, and which I’d just allowed to be shaped to fit along with the storyline.

If you’re like me, and grew up in the 1990s, loved rock music and lived in Doc Martens then this may be the story for you. I saved up for my first pair of Docs in 1991 when I was just
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
"Girls on Fire" by Robin Wasserman is a hot mess! This novel had all the potential to be something great based on the synopsis. The plot sounded so intriguing to me. A murder mystery of sorts in a small town in the early '90s. The story centers around two classmates with two very different upbringings becoming unlikely allies. Basically, Hannah is the good girl (very naïve). Lacey is the bad girl (very manipulative). And Craig is their popular classmate who mysteriously commits suicide on Hallow ...more
Bill Kupersmith
Imagine John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club remade by Quintain Tarantino with a soundtrack by Nirvana instead of Simple Minds & R-rated for nudity, sex, violence & language. That’s how I envision a movie version of Girls on Fire. The setting is “the butt crack of western Pennsylvania”--an imaginary rust-belt town called Battle Creek somewhere near Pittsburgh, Bruce Springsteen country. The plot involves discovering what happened to the high-school athlete Craig Ellison, an apparent suicide by gunsh ...more
DNF at 80%

I loved the premise of the book, but I knew it probably wasn't going to be my thing as soon as I was a couple of pages in.

I didn't like the MCs or the way the chapters shifted to different POVs. Everything felt manic and the dialogue was vulgar and it was an effective way to keep me cringing. And keep me reading.

Until I got to a sleepover party scene where the girls make one of the MCs watch a video of her {the MC} getting gang raped while passed out. Nope.

**Huge thanks to HarperCol
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

‘Origin stories are irrelevant. Nothing matters less than how you were born. What matters is how you die, and how you live. We live for each other, so anything that got us to that point must have been right.’

Girls on Fire left me incredibly conflicted and I sat on my review for several weeks hoping that time would help elucidate my feelings. (It did not. Yet here I am.) Girls on Fire consists of the types of teenagers of a Megan Abbott novel; Dare Me is the one that
Dannii Elle
I received this book in exchange for an honest review on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Robin Wasserman, and the publisher, Little Brown Book Group, for this opportunity.

This is one of the darkest, deepest and most dazzling books I have ever read!

Girls on Fire follows the story of the dark and almost obsessive relationship between high-school best friends, Hannah and Lacey. I mistakenly, initially took this for a preppy, happy, contemporary read (not my thing) until reviews told me other
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is soooo F*cked up and so addicting. I could not put it down.

If you enjoy thrillers, destructive relationships, and dark novels this one is for you. It reminds me a lot of Schwab's messed up Vicious characters and recommend both to you
♡ Kim ♡
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, arc, giveaway-wins
I really wanted to like this book. It had an almost magnetic pace which was great, but the story just at times felt forced and unbelievable.
Stories about teenagers are a tricky thing. Should they always - no matter how dark and depraved - be categorised as young adult fiction, merely by dint of their protagonists' ages? (The controversy over the 18 certificate given to the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl springs to mind.) Like the occasional misidentification of literary novels as thrillers because of the presence of certain themes, the assumption that all books with teenage characters are YA tends to irritate me. But in the case o ...more
Ursula Uriarte
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
**I received this book from Harper in exchange for an honest review**

I really wanted to love this book.
I loved the cover.
I loved the premise.
I loved that it was set in the early 90's

There is nothing more disappointing than wanting to love a book but then the book turns up to be just ok.
I didn't hate this book, it was just not for me. I was Hannah's and Lacey's age in the early nineties, big grunge fan, loved Nirvana wore plaid and Docs everywhere I went (still do lol) so after I read the fi
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Robin Wasserman is not a name I had heard before ..... but if you're going to start somewhere... then start here. This .... blew .... me .... away!!

Yes, it's THAT good!! From the blurb we know that we're going to meet good girl, Hannah and bad girl, Lacey and that a suicide is thrown into the mix at the beginning. What follows is an incredible insight into teenage lives that resonates powerfully. Even if your lives were nothing like this, there is something relateable that is perfectly captured
Joanne Robertson
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Whoa this made for some very uncomfortable reading! A very dark and sometimes distressing book that every mum of teenage girls should read- your teenagers antics won't seem so bad after reading this! As one who struggled with those difficult teenage years both as a mum and as a teenage girl myself, I totally got where this book was coming from. Teenage girls can be so intense, especially when it comes to relationships and with the viciousness that it can create when things go wrong. It can lead ...more
Julie Zantopoulos
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This audiobook for this book was so well done. The voice actors did a great job of putting the snark, sarcasm, passion and emotion into their words. I was addicted to this twisted dangerous friendship and how the secrets would unravel themselves. It is full of trigger warnings for self-harm, suicide, sexual assault, and violence.

I thought it was beautifully dark and a fantastic look at the psychology of dangerous co-dependent relationships that are quick to form in teenage girls. The need to fit
Liz Barnsley
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Still lightning in a bottle. Even better second time round because you know what's coming and still feel like you can stop it somehow.

Some of the best writing I've ever had the pleasure of reading, purely powerful and enduringly real.
Hannah has always lived life in the background. Quiet, polite, just plain boring. So when Lacey, the schools new beautiful, dangerous rebel defends her against Nikki, the school bully, Hannah feels something she never imagined possible, special. Desperate to hang onto that feeling, Hannah adopting the new nickname ‘Dex’, blindly follows Lacey down a dark destructive path. But Lacey isn’t as strong and independent as she appears. Both girls feel a desperate need each other and their friendship tu ...more
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AMAZING! READ ASAP 1 24 May 07, 2016 01:20PM  

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Robin Wasserman is the author of the novels MOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE (June 2020) and GIRLS ON FIRE. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and several short story anthologies. A recent MacDowell Colony fellow, she is also the New York Times bestselling author of more than ten novels for young adults and teaches in the low-residency MFA program ...more

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