Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak
Published by: Albert Whitman and Company
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Burn Girl is the type of book I read every summer purely because it provides a getaway from reality. It's like reading Sarah Dessen, everybody reads Sarah Dessen in their lifetime because she writes wonderful stories about characters who are different and have pasts or troubles that they need help or support with.
Arlie's scarred. Her face is disfigured thanks to her stepfather and his accomplices when they blew up a Meth lab. Her mother has just died of an overdose, yet Arlie suspects there's more to the story and to top it off, she's being forced to live with an Uncle she didn't know existed until now.
Her new school isn't kind. What school is? But Arlie gets by through her best friend and the kindness of her newly discovered Uncle. But that isn't enough turmoil for the poor girl. Instead the dreaded stepfather returns claiming her mother owed him money and now Arlie has inherited the same debt and must pay it off.
It's a tough cookie of a story and maybe that's why I liked it so much. Mikulencak writes a very gritty and interesting story that put me in Arlie's perspective and admire how she overcame a lot in what could be considered a short period of time. A very strong lead indeed.