Dead End Girls

Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. May 2022. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316310413.
Gr 9 Up–An action-packed LGBTQIA+ thriller. Forced to live out of a suitcase and shuffled between her divorced parents each week, Maude is fed up with her life. But all that is about to change; Maude has found her way out by faking her death. However, her perfect plan goes awry when her step-cousin, Frankie, discovers her false passport. Maude thinks everything is ruined, but Frankie offers her a deal: help her fake her death, too, or she’ll rat Maude out to her parents. Frankie has her own reason for wanting to start over, but she keeps it to herself. Maude decides she’s put too much time and effort into the plan to stop now. So, with an unexpected companion, Maude fakes her death, and the first part of the plan goes off without a hitch. But now she realizes just how many complications Frankie’s presence brings. Worst of all? Maude is enjoying Frankie’s company way more than she thinks she should. While this title is compulsively readable, readers will have to set aside disbelief to enjoy the story. Two teenagers faking their deaths and coming up with the necessary paperwork to escape their families and start new lives in another country is a stretch. The other situations in the novel make it even less believable. However, readers who enjoy stories with high drama and action will easily forgive this flaw. Race of characters is not mentioned.
VERDICT A fast-paced, enjoyable read for those who can suspend disbelief.

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