Cover Image: Dead End Girls

Dead End Girls

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WOW does Wendy Heard know how to write interesting, fast-paced and wild thrillers! As with all her others, I enjoyed this one thoroughly.
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Maude has a plan to completely leave her current life. She’s not wanted at her Dad’s or her Mom’s and they tend to forget when it’s their custody week. Maude has saved and planned for years to make this work and she seizes the opportunity to leave when her Mom’s in-laws book a Hawaiian vacation. She hasn’t planned on her step-cousin to discover her passports or want to join her because her life is miserable too, but Frankie goes along with the plan. They fake their drowning and run. Things become chaotic, dangerous and crazy after that. Their lives are endangered, they’re chased by the authorities and they discover more about their families than they wanted to know. A fast-paced mystery, 4 stars!
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Wow! That was a rollercoaster. Just when you think things are going to die down and Mod and Frankie are going to make it out ok something else happens. The characters were well developed and the plot contains all the requirements of a good thriller.

I'd love to see this one in movie format one day! It was fast-paced, intense, and had all the twists I look for in a thriller! I will of course be recommending this one to all the readers!
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I have to tell you, in the beginning I had a hard time putting this book down! I was up ‘til 1am one night & only stopped because my kindle hit me in the head. 

The story line is good & was well played out. To fake your own death, take on a new identity, & survive on your own as a teen is mind blowing to me. The details & what Maude knew to do is crazy to me. As a mother of teen girls their age reading this, first, it breaks my heart that they feel that their parents don’t love them. And secondly, I kept hoping that they remained safe & out of harms way. The trouble they got into was perfect in the beginning but seemed to get a little far fetched the more the story went along. 

Overall, I did enjoy this one. The story was unique & you are definitely taken on a wild ride, but it got lost in there when it got a little too over the top for me. I do recommend giving it a try and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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This was a great read. I really enjoyed reading all about Maude and Frankie's journey and all of the wrenches thrown into their plans. I ended up really loving both characters, they are both so fun and smart. I loved seeing the plans the two made and how they worked out all of the issues that came up. These two are seriously bad-ass and I love them both. Besides a great thriller, the book also discusses gender and sexuality. Frankie is questioning their gender and while it is not a huge focus in the book, it plays an important part. Maude also is somewhat questioning and affirming her sexuality and makes for a great sapphic read. Heard has definitely gotten me hooked on her books. She's Too Pretty to Burn has been sitting on my TBR for a while and I am moving it up immediately!
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This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our list for order this year and will recommend it to students.
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Wow, this book was so packed full of twists and turns it was just what I needed to take me out of a reading slump. This was a quick and fun read, perfect for those who enjoy mysteries with a twist. The whole plot of the story is that Maude, our MC, is set on faking her own death in order to be less of a burden to her “new family.” But then her cousin/not-cousin Frankie finds out and want’s to join. 
	While the plan works in a sense, a whole other side and issue come to light, and these girls turn from being “dead” to be on the run.
	This was such an amazing read, and I love the LGBTQ+ rep. The twists as to who actually had done it, in the end, had me reeling, but I think the true ending is what had me yelling YES by the end of the book.
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I was very interested in the premise of this book, but upon starting to read, it fell kind of flat.  I know kids disappear everyday but this felt ... too planned out?  Too unrealistic?  I'm not sure, but it just didn't do it for me.
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The plot for this book was pretty unbelievable to me. I loved She's Too Pretty To Burn, and had high expectations. Unfortunately, this story just didn't work. The relationship between Maude and Frankie was too weird and uncomfortable to me.
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This is a thrilling, fast- paced read perfect for YA. It’s a quick read, and the story will draw you in. It’s about two teen girls who fake their deaths to run away and escape their lives. Of course, not all goes perfectly, and they end up in the run from the police. A fun read, especially for the summer.
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Thank you to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review. 

CWs: faking their own death, murder, stabbing, hit-and-run, homophobia, drug overdose

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. I though the premise was super interesting, it was really fast and easy to read, it was definitely thrilling, but I didn’t connect or relate to either character. 
The book is told mostly from Maude’s POV with a few chapters from Frankie’s. Frankie’s started out being in the past as we learn about the events that were happening that push her to go along with Maude when she learns of Maude’s plan. I thought this was really interesting, but it was also predictable and I felt like it didn’t really do much to the main plot. 
Maude was an interesting character for sure. She was really smart, selfish, and often pretty rude. I couldn’t figure out if she was supposed to be unlikeable or if it was just me. I thought learning about all of Maude’s plans for how to fake her death and escape were interesting, and when she threw most of them away to let Frankie go with her it meant we got to see Maude come up with new plans. 
I also liked the relationship between the two girls. Both are queer, and Frankie is struggling to figure out her gender identity. This isn’t really discussed in major detail. I didn’t really feel romance or love while reading, but it was kind of sweet towards the end with the girls’ relationship. 
Overall it was a really fast-paced and intense read. I read it in a couple of sittings and couldn’t put it down, but I wasn’t a big fan of the main characters. Other readers might really enjoy this sapphic YA thriller.
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Dead End Girls is an outstanding YA thriller that will keep readers glued to their seats until the last page! The plot is addictive and fast-paced. The story is about two girls who fake their deaths to escape their lives, but is it the life you live you're trying to run from or is it yourself? The characters are outstanding and realistic. Highly recommended!!
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This book was one of the most unrealistic young adult thrillers that I’ve read, but it was also an incredibly wild and thrilling ride.

Dead End Girls follows two teenagers who decide to fake their deaths and run away. As you could imagine, there are several hitches in their plan, leading them to eventually end up on the run from the police when their scheme is discovered. There were a few things that I was skeptical about from the very beginning of the novel regarding the believability of the plot (even something as simple as the details about TSA not being right), but I do feel as though YA thrillers aren’t supposed to be the most realistic of stories. That being said, the realism only gets worse as the book progresses, so this is definitely a suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride kind of book.

Wendy Heard does an amazing job at keeping the reader hooked. Watching Maude and Frankie’s plans slowly unravel and fall apart was like watching a car crash—you can’t look away. The fact that the characters themselves are not actually that likable contributes to this crash-and-burn effect. You kind of hope they succeed, but you also kind of hope they fail. In fact, I was reading this book late at night (around 3am) and wanted to go to sleep but just couldn’t get myself to put it down. The end 15% or so of the book in particular is sure to hold your attention hostage.
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dead end girls is a super fun and quick YA thriller! I absolutely adored it and thought it's quick pace was done very well. though I didn't love the romance, I felt that the characters were both very well developed.
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I was actually kind of surprised by how fast I flew through this book. I was hooked right from the first chapter and could not put this book down. I got really into learning Frankie’s story. I wanted to know what make them who they are are and why they wanted to escape like Maude. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick thriller but it was a well done thriller!
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Dead End Girls is a young adult thriller that unfolds at a break-neck pace while still allowing the characters to develop.
I read this book in late March, and it has stuck with me ever since. Maude is definitely a morally-grey character, and that definitely added a level to the story. I absolutely loved this book and was turning the pages as quickly as possible to see what came next.
I didn’t love the romance, which surprised me a bit, but everything else was literal perfection to me! I highly highly recommend, and it’s out now!!
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I was hooked from the start of this book! I mean, how can you not when it literally says hey I’m gonna die soon here’s how. I was like whaaaat?!?
I loved the characters and mystery that Wendy created. Maude was just a genius and I loved her ability to get it if these crazy situations.
Definitely a fun read for me! I highly recommend this y’all!
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While I loved both Kill Club and, more so, She’s Too Pretty To Burn, Dead End Girls didn’t grip me in quite the same way. I liked Frankie way more than I liked Maude (which, if you know me, is very strange because the analytical ones are always my favorite) - mostly because Maude’s motivations felt… flimsy. At a certain point, it worked, because by then she was in far too deep to back down, and I could get behind her decisions if not necessarily her personality (Frankie deserved better, tbh).

I really enjoyed the nuance in the main characters’ queerness. When we do finally get Frankie’s POV, it unlocks such a familiar (to me at least) stream of consciousness about sexuality, gender, and gender roles, about where and how Frankie fits into expectations (or doesn’t, at the case may be), musing about pronouns and gender expression. I particularly loved the way the people around Frankie (minus grandma, obviously) act during the last section of the book (keeping it vague because spoilers).

Though step cousins in love is weird to me. Yes I know they’re not related by blood, but the family structure is a cage they can’t escape - especially for them - and it makes it a little weird.
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Dead End Girls

Author: Wendy Heard

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Queer MC, Queer trans side character

Recommended For...: young adult readers, thriller, LGBT, Thelma and Louise

Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Genre: YA Thriller

Age Relevance: 16+ (death, language, disordered eating, fatphobia, romance, running away, drug use, attempted overdose, underage alcohol consumption, gore, violence, sexual harassment, murder, sexual content, gaslighting, emotional abuse, child abuse, attempted murder)

Explanation of Above: This book contains death, murder, attempted murder, gore in the form of some blood and vomit, and violence in the form of stabbing and car accidents. There is moderate cursing in the book. Disordered eating is shown and mentioned, as well as fatphobic comments said to the MC. There is also gaslighting, emotional abuse to a child, and child abuse shown in the book. The book centers around characters who run away from home. There is some romance in the book and some slight sexual content. There is also drug use shown, underage alcohol consumption shown, sexual harassment mentioned and shown, and an attempted overdose shown.

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Pages: 336

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I really liked this book! It was a fun Thelma and Louise themed book centering around  two characters who have fairly bad spaces at home, one more toxic than the other, and their attempt to make their own way in the world ala faking their own death and then having to become a little murderous. The book is Multi-POV with Frankie’s scenes being more of a flashback at what led them to this conclusion currently in the book. The character development was well done as was the world building. And overall I loved the book and had so much fun with it. It kept me on the edge of my seat as I questioned how the characters would get out of the mess they kept making for themselves and I will say that the ending is satisfying.

The only issue I had with the book is that when the scenes would cut to Frankie the voice was a little hard to distinguish from Maude and the back and forth nature of the book is a little confusing at first. You have to pay attention to the headings at the top of the chapters, which is always my arch nemesis.

Verdict: It was great!
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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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