Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: Girls Burn Brighter, by Shobha Rao

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao book cover and review
Girls Burn Brighter is a very well-written, compelling book.  But it is heartbreaking.

Poornima and Savitha become best friends during their poverty-stricken childhood in India.  Because of circumstances beyond their control (like being forced to marry, which actually is the least barbaric act in this book) they are torn from each other.

Their lives are so miserable, and through it all, what keeps them going is the possibility of escaping and finding each other again.

Rao's writing is beautiful. I was truly sucked in and couldn't put this down. (I may have snuck some reading of this one during work...)  I felt so deeply for each of these women and couldn't believe the lengths they went to in order to find each other. There was some luck involved, but a lot of this luck stemmed from the fact that they were so close, that they knew what paths each of them would take in certain situations.  It was fascinating.

This isn't a light book. And it's made worse by the fact that it ends so abruptly.  After such a distressing narrative, I wanted a complete ending.  I wanted just a little denouement or some kind of epilogue.  At the end of the book, I still felt all of the grief that I suffered throughout, even though the ending is "happy."  It was jarringly abrupt. You are waiting and hoping for them to finally find each other and you don't get to see any of that play out. Ugggh.  This was so frustrating to me!

I would still recommend Girls Burn Brighter to adults and older teens who enjoy dramatic stories that emphasize friendship, oppression of women, powerful females, and survival at all costs. Just be aware that you have to finish the story for yourself if you want a "feel good" ending.

Published by Flatiron, March 6, 2018
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
320 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I've heard great things about this book. With books with strong serious content, the happy ending just seems so fake because I don't think there's a happiness that can equate and be greater the grief. I look forward to reading it.

  2. This sounds like my kind of book--India, friendship, tragedy, and a (mostly) happy ending. Thank you!


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