Hello humans! Today I’m back with another book that came highly recommended by Asha over at A Cat, A Book, and a Cup of Tea (read her review here). Asha was kind enough to lend me her copy of this book for which I am grateful because it is just amazing. Lily Anderson’s book made me laugh, cry and go through a whole spectrum of other emotions in the space of just three hundred pages. I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who’s ever felt like a bit of an outsider.
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.
As Asha says, it’s weird to laugh so much in a book where the main character’s best friend has died. So often, YA books that explore the idea of death and have a mystery element, are quite miserable and introspective (Blackbird springs to mind) but this book chose to focus on humour alongside that pain, to great success. While the story doesn’t shy away from the horror at what happened and the grief these characters feel it still has plenty of moments of lightness, feeling at times like an episode of a sitcom (but a good one).
I loved Mila, the main character, so much. It is always wonderful to read a fat protagonist in YA where weight isn’t the entirety of her identity. Mila has so much more going on than that and she is so real, despite being in a somewhat fantastical story. I think pretty much anyone could relate to Mila in one way or another, making her an exceptional main character.
The tone of this book is just perfect, the characters and the way the relationships between them form and change also. I can’t think of anything I would change – which is very unlike me. I loved the way that the fantasy elements and modern-day interacted, I loved the pacing of the story, I loved how things were explained and resolved. It’s not a happy book, the premise kind of gives that away, but it is a joyous book, a triumphant book. This is how you write about female friendships, this is how you write outcasts, this is how you write these kinds of books well.
I devoured this book in one sitting I was so swept up in it and a part of me wishes I could go back, erase it from my memory and read it again just to savour it a little more.
Should you read this? Absolutely.
My rating: 5/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Will you be reading Undead Girl Gang? Let me know in the comments below!