Release Date: May 8th, 2018
Trigger Warnings: death, self-harm, murder, suicide, descriptions of the dead, depression, grief, one joke about PTSD that made me iffy
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Genre: young adult, mystery, magic, urban fantasy
Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.
So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.
R E V I E W
I, unfortunately, was incredibly excited for Undead Girl Gang. The cover is amazing and I was so excited by the premise of the main character being unlikeable – and she was, she was sarcastic and not a ‘typical’ MC. I really hate the fact that I had been excited about this one, I was incredibly let down by this one. Undead Girl Gang did not fulfil my expectations in any way. I am not sure I will even be able to put into words why I didn’t like Undead Girl Gang.
What is Undead Girl Gang about? Lily Anderson weaves a tale of Mila Flores who lives in a small town and relies on her best friend Riley, who lives in a funeral home with her family. All is relatively well for the pair until one day Riley ends up dead just after two girls have supposedly committed a suicide pact in the small town. It is a tragedy for three young girls in such a short period of time and Mila is mourning the death of her friend. She is sure that Riley was murdered; Riley wouldn’t have been at the creek otherwise. Which means that Mila decides to dip into the dark side of Wicca. She decides she’s going to bring Riley back from the dead in order to get answers. She needs to know who killed Riley or else Mila won’t be able to rest. Accidentally though Mila rises the two other dead girls, girls that Mila and Riley hadn’t been friends with, girls that had actually bullied Riley despite being friends with her super cute brother. As the four girls now try to figure out who the murder is they will face problems, mainly the fact that three of them are meant to be dead.
It sounds like such an amazing book, honestly. With magic, ‘zombie’ girl and a murder mystery. However, the mystery element is incredibly lacking. It is one of the most predictable books I have read to date and I was so disappointed. Maybe I’m just a crime expert or this book really was easy to guess, I don’t know. This isn’t me not saying to pick up this book.
Anyway, I should get into what I didn’t like about this book and what I did like about Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson.
L I K E S
✗ THE WORD FAT IS NOT SHIED AWAY FROM
This is obviously really important and not my lane to talk about anything in terms of representation. I do believe it is own voices though? I’m not a 100% sure though. However, I did enjoy that the word fat wasn’t treated as a negative thing. Mila knows that she is fat and doesn’t want any other descriptor used when talking about her. Again, this is something I feel is super important as being fat is not a bad thing.
✗ UNLIKEABLE MC
Mila was unlikeable. If you know me, you know that I love unlikeable characters. I really enjoyed the fact that she was sarcastic, bitchy and petty. Mila wasn’t afraid to share her opinions and she was definitely someone who not everyone would like. I like that so much, not that I liked Mila herself but I did enjoy the way Lily Anderson decided to write her character, especially her interactions with the other cast, it all felt so incredibly raw.
D I S L I K E S
✗ PREDICTABLE AS HELL
As soon as the murderer was introduced I knew. I called it straight away. I was sincerely hoping that I would not be right but unfortunately in this case I was. It was also one of the most boring people of the entire book as well.
✗ THE REASONING WAS RIDICULOUS
The person is revealed, the reasoning is explained and I am rolling my eyes the entire time. It was some of the most boring reasoning ever. I just wanted more. Especially with who the author chose as the murderer.
✗ PACING ISSUES
The book was slow. It needed to be faster. There is something that is sincerely lacking about a story in which drags the normal conversations of four teenage girls out for way too many pages. It made the story incredibly tedious to get through. I feel the ending should have been longer and the book shorter as a whole, it would have really fixed this particular issue in the book.
✗ SELF HARM IS NORMALISED
Now, this is a weird thing to explain, I think. But, Mila is given a hair tie/rubber band by her sister to wear around her wrist and snap against her wrist when she is feeling numb. This is really uncomfortable and it never mentioned again. It wasn’t viewed as a bad thing and it really wasn’t addressed. Obviously, this is a self-harm symptom and it is really uncomfortable to see it in the text and not have it discussed in depth and shown that one needs to get help in these situations.
Overall, I think this will be a great and enjoyable book for others but it just wasn’t for me. I definitely understand the importance of the fat representation and unlikeable characters but this plotline was not for me. I just wanted more, instead of a predictable story with two friends in which I didn’t feel a connection between. If you want a book about the importance of friendship this is for you, but if you want an exciting mystery element this is a hard pass, honestly.
Happy reading everyone!
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