Nothing much ever happens in Battle Creek, PA until Halloween 1991 when high school basketball star Craig shoots himself in the woods, shaking the nerves of a town that already has teens partaking in Satanic rituals. Hannah Dexter, who is perennially on the fringe of the social scene, befriends new girl Lacey shortly after Craig’s death. Lacey worships at the alter of Kurt Cobain, she has a troubled home life but a charismatic aura. Hannah falls under Lacey’s spell and is rechristened “Dex”- the two become inseparable.
Teenage angst; ditching class and getting drunk. Lacey’s hypnotic hold becomes toxic. She delves into Satanism and the girls have a fight. Dex gets in trouble at a party and then Lacey gets sent away by her step father.
“Girls had to believe in anything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.”
Girls on Fire reminded me of The Luckiest Girl Alive but a lot less annoying… Lacey has a secret that she hasn’t even confessed to Dex that manages to catch up to her. The reader gets small trickles of information about what Lacey is hiding that results in a big pay off. Everything is set to the soundtrack of the early ’90s, Nirvana and grunge. No cellphones or Internet. I don’t think the story would work in any other year.
My biggest complaint was how quickly everything is wrapped up after the climax. It seemed a bit rushed and I was hoping for more.