Thursday, February 2, 2017

Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak reviewed by Isabella

Here is another student book review written by Isabella:

Burn Girl written by Mandy Mikulencak is about a sixteen year old girl named Arlie, whose life has been anything, but pleasant. Growing up with an addict mother and abusive stepfather, Arlie has never experienced a family life that even borders on “normal”. However, after her mother suspiciously dies of an overdose, Arlie is thrust into a new life she never imagined in her wildest dreams. Everything is different, as now she goes to school, is singing in a choir, and has an adult who cares about her well-being, her uncle Frank, who she never knew existed. However, when her new life is jeopardized by someone from her past, Arlie is forced to decide how far she will go in order to protect it.
I really enjoyed this book due to its excellently developed relationship between Arlie and her best friend, Mo. I have never read a book that so elegantly depicted the complexity of friendship because both characters have prominent flaws, but are able mostly to overcome them for the good of their friendship. Also, I thought that Arlie’s relationship with her uncle was developed in a both realistic and heartwarming way, which I thought was very well done. Finally, I liked that the author did not try to portray addiction in a one sided manner, but rather demonstrated its effects on others.
One aspect that I thought could be developed a bit more, was the romance between Arlie and Cody especially when you compare it to Arlie’s relationship with Mo and Frank. Their love can be categorized as “insta-love” since there is very little build up to their romance. However, since this was not the main focus of the novel, it does not hurt the book’s overall quality.

This book is an excellent conversation starter to talk with students about the effects drug abuse can have not only on themselves, but also their family members. Furthermore, this book entails many positive messages, such as friendship, forgiveness, trust, and learning how to cope with a tragedy. One thing to note, is that there are a few violent scenes in which characters are severely injured.

Here is a great book trailer provided by the publisher:

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