Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak | {ARC} Book Review #367

Thank you to Albert Whitman and Company, via Netgalley, for giving me an Advanced Readers Copy of Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warning:
Drug Mention,
Drug Overdose resulting in Death,
Fire, Attempted Murder,
Guns, Bullying

25335399A meth lab explosion leaves Arlie permanently scarred — both physically and emotionally. Yet, she develops the street smarts and survival skills to keep her addict mother out of the reach of the law and hidden from her stepfather, Lloyd, the man responsible for the explosion that killed three people.
Shortly after Arlie’s 16th birthday, her mother overdoses, forcing an end to their nomadic lives. Social services steps in and rules suddenly exist where none had before. Soon, she’s living in a 31-foot Airstream trailer with an eccentric uncle and attending high school for the first time.
While her facial scar makes it hard to fit in, Arlie begins to think a normal life might be possible – that is, until her stepfather tracks her down and insists she return drug money her mother had stolen. A final confrontation tests Arlie’s idea of right and wrong, and how far she’s willing to go to protect her new life.


Publication Date: September 1st 2015.

This review is long overdue, but since I’ve only recently gotten around to reading Burn Girl…it is better late than never.

I’ve been perpetually interested in Burn Girl for a few years. Every time I go to read it, I read the synopsis and think “Hmm, this’ll be good!” and then for some reason I move on to another book. So I’m really freakin’ glad that I finally sat down to read Arlie’s story.

I can honestly say that now that I’ve read the book, I see how great the cover for Burn Girl is. There’s more semblance in the cover than I had initially thought, prior to reading BG.

I really liked that Burn Girl only has Arlie’s point of view. I like how we see her struggles and her triumphs. Also, seeing her thought process was different, because of how she has lived her life up to when her mom died, as well as living with the big scar on her face.

I like that there’s a little bit of romance in this novel. The romance isn’t all in your face and it doesn’t take over Arlie’s life. The romance is instead really sweet.

Something that I really enjoyed about this novel was that we see Arlie’s life in the present, but there are moments that gives us insight as to how Arlie lived her life before her mom died. I’m bring attention to this because I usually don’t like when novels do the flashback thing, but Mikulencak has done it incredibly well. The flashback moments don’t feel forced. They feel incredibly natural.

The progress that Arlie makes throughout this novel is heartwarming. Because we see Arlie in pretty much three stages of her life: before her mom died, before the accident, and Arlie’s life in the present. At the start of Burn Girl, we see Arlie incredibly anxious and very stand-off ish. By the end of the novel we see Arlie grow to trust. We see how Arlie deals with her problems: she admits she has them, and she’s getting help for that.

I give Burn Girl, 3.5 stars.

Happy Reading!
— Adele

3 thoughts on “Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak | {ARC} Book Review #367

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