Book Review – The Lives of Desperate Girls

The Lives of Desperate Girls
MacKenzie Common
Penguin Teen
Publication Date: September 19, 2017


“One small, northern community. Two girls gone — one missing, the other dead. A riveting coming-of-age debut young adult novel for fans of Everything I Never Told You and All the Bright Places.”

“Sixteen-year-old Helen Commanda is found dead just outside Thunder Creek, Ontario. Her murder goes unremarked, except for the fact that it may shed light on the earlier disappearance of Chloe Shaughnessy. Chloe is beautiful, rich and white. Helen is plain, and from the reservation. They had nothing in common except that they were teenage girls from an unforgiving small town. Only Chloe’s best friend Jenny Parker knows exactly how unforgiving, but she’s keeping some dangerous secrets of her own.
Jenny begins looking for answers about Helen’s life and death, trying to understand larger questions about her town and her best friend. But what can a teenage girl really accomplish where adults have failed? And how much is Jenny actually complicit in a conspiracy of silence?” ~via Goodreads

The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common was a fantastic read! The characters were well thought out, easy to identify with, and easy to connect with – especially Jenny. The storyline was written in the appropriate pace and kept me well interested throughout.

I feel the need to mention that some parts of this book might be a bit difficult for some people to digest. The Lives of Desperate Girls hits on a lot of heavy subjects like sex, rape, murder, racism, bullying, and suicide that may make the reader feel uncomfortable. That being said, some of the subject matter opens up to meaningful dialogue and I believe that MacKenzie Common approached these subjects delicately and appropriately.

Written in a first person narrative, the approach of storytelling was somewhat different than others I’ve read in the same genre. And even though some elements of the story may appear familiar to other books of the same genre, it is truly special and unique in its own right. This book is so much more than a story about missing girls, murder and the mystery that haunts Jenny.

I absolutely enjoyed The Lives of Desperate Girls and would recommend it to others who enjoy YA/mystery type books.

I received this book at no cost, courtesy of NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, for my honest feedback and review.


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