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In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.
The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?
This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.
Top 5 Reasons to Read Dead End Girls:
The writing! There is so much beautiful wordplay in this story. Especially from Maude, who wants to leave behind the sham of her life and has thought long and hard about what life means and what living it means. It would be so much easier for her to decide to just deal with life until she graduated and could move on, but she doesn’t. But, when Frankie makes a muck her plans, she drops such beautiful sentences as this: “My whole body is my heartbeat, furious and hurt.
Dead people. Seriously, this is not a book for the faint of heart. In their quest for freedom, Maude and Frankie make some not great friends and some not great choices. Plus, they want everyone they know to think they’re dead, too. So, yeah, if death bothers you, this is not the book for you.
Someone might be trying to kill someone for money. There is more going on than meets the eye as we look past what we think we know about Frankie and Maude. One of them might just be in too deep and need help getting out – but who can she trust?
Family who can’t see past their own noses. Dead End Girls definitely plays into family drama, especially fancy people family drama. There are a few cliches here: the overly pompous grandmother, the ne’er do good son, the possibly just in it for the money new wife…
Pronouns! There is a subtle pronoun shift toward the end of the book as a character comes to grip with their sexuality that isn’t explained or pointed out – it just happens, and it’s beautiful!
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About the Author:
Wendy Heard is the author of two adult thrillers: The Kill Club and Hunting Annabelle, which Kirkus Reviews praised as “a diabolically plotted creep show from a writer to watch.” She’s Too Pretty To Burn, which Kirkus called “a wild and satisfying romp” in a starred review, marks her YA debut. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America, is a contributor at Crimereads.com, and co-hosts the Unlikeable Female Characters podcast. Wendy lives in Los Angeles, California.