December 09, 2021

#BookReview: Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu

Synopsis: From the acclaimed author of Moxie comes a gripping gender-flipped reimagining of The Outsiders that explores the deep bonds of female friendship and what it takes to be a "bad girl."

1964. Houston, Texas. 

Evie Barnes is a bad girl. So are all her friends. They’re the sort who wear bold makeup, laugh too loud, and run around with boys. Most of all, they protect their own against the world. So when Evie is saved from a sinister encounter by a good girl from the "right" side of the tracks, every rule she's always lived by is called into question. Now she must redefine what it means to be a bad girl and rethink everything she knew about loyalty.

In this riveting story of murder, secrets, and tragedy, Jennifer Mathieu puts a female twist on S. E. Hinton's The OutsidersBad Girls Never Say Die has all the drama and heartache of that teen classic, but with a feminist take just right for our times.


Rating: 3 Stars
My Review: Parts of this one felt very predictable and others were just so good I couldn't put it down.  I loved the gender flipped Outsiders and I think that this works well for the story.  Overall, I was never completely invested in the story but think it would be interesting to read this with The Outsiders maybe for a school thesis where you could compare and contrast them. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Evie and her friends are "bad girls"-they wear heavy makeup, skip class to smoke, and spend their weekends drinking and partying at the local drive-in movie theatre. After Evie is brutally attacked there one Saturday night, she awakens to discover that her attacker has been killed by the unlikeliest of people-Diane, a wealthy girl who is new in Evie's class. Now, Evie and her friends must deal with the fallout from this horrible night while trying to protect Diane, who is harboring even more secrets. A feminist take on The Outsiders, this fast-paced story shines because of its strong characters and emotional punch. Set against the harshly elitist backdrop of 1964 Houston, TX, the novel explores themes of friendships, found family, and tearing down stereotypes. These threads remain deeply poignant and will resonate with teens from all kinds of backgrounds. Trigger warnings for sexual assault, alongside heavy drinking and smoking, make this book less suitable for younger teens, but high school librarians and teachers will find this to be a good addition to their collections because it will spark discussions on tough topics like gender equality, economic disparity, and social stigma. VERDICT Highly recommended for the classroom or to give to budding social activists.-Chelsey Masterson, New York P.L., Bronx, New York╬▒(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Praise for Bad Girls Never Say Die:

"Mathieu has created a story that is wholly her own, and what a mighty story it is." - The New York Times

"[A] bold feminist take on The Outsiders ... This important, thought provoking read will no doubt have a lasting impression on readers." - Booklist

"Jennifer Mathieu has rather ingeniously taken the social dynamics of The Outsiders and refocused them on a pack of teenage girls... a worthy expansion." - Shelf Awareness

"In Evie―loyal, searching, smarter than she realizes―Mathieu (The Liars of Mariposa Island) has created an earnest, memorable character." - Publishers Weekly

"Engaging dialogue and melodramatic plot twists keep pages turning as the girls’ unlikely bond is solidified and the star-crossed lovers’ sad story unfolds. This book holds its own as a standalone novel and offers lots of opportunities for discussion as a companion read to Hinton’s." - The Horn Book

"A reimagining of The Outsiders ... the feeling Evie expresses over being stuck in her teenage trappings will ring true to many, and her efforts to eschew gender expectations will be felt by any teens who face gender-discriminatory dress codes at school." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 

"Highly recommended for the classroom or to give to budding social activists." - School Library Journal

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