Bad Girls Never Say Die

Roaring Brook. Oct. 2021. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250232588.
Gr 9 Up–Evie and her friends are “bad girls”—they wear heavy makeup, skip class to smoke, and spend their weekends drinking and partying at the local drive-in movie theatre. After Evie is brutally attacked there one Saturday night, she awakens to discover that her attacker has been killed by the unlikeliest of people—Diane, a wealthy girl who is new in Evie’s class. Now, Evie and her friends must deal with the fallout from this horrible night while trying to protect Diane, who is harboring even more secrets. A feminist take on The Outsiders, this fast-paced story shines because of its strong characters and emotional punch. Set against the harshly elitist backdrop of 1964 Houston, TX, the novel explores themes of friendships, found family, and tearing down stereotypes. These threads remain deeply poignant and will resonate with teens from all kinds of backgrounds. Trigger warnings for sexual assault, alongside heavy drinking and smoking, make this book less suitable for younger teens, but high school librarians and teachers will find this to be a good addition to their collections because it will spark discussions on tough topics like gender equality, economic disparity, and social stigma.
VERDICT Highly recommended for the classroom or to give to budding social activists.

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