The Burning Girl
by Claire Messud
Pub Date 29 Aug 2017
A bracing, hypnotic, coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.
Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.
Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.
About the Author: Claire Messud is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The author of five previous works of fiction including her most recent novel, The Woman Upstairs.
A Note From the Publisher
LibraryReads nominations due by 6/20 and IndieNext nominations due by 7/5.
"Messud (The Woman Upstairs, 2013, etc.) investigates the fraught intricacies of friendship and adolescence as two girls grow up and grow apart in a small Massachusetts town....this is very much a book about masks and performances...Emotionally intense and quietly haunting." - Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Julia and Cassie are childhood friends. We see them visiting each other's homes, doing what girl buddies do. While Julia is raised in a loving home that encourages education and being a good person, Cassie lives the opposite. She is raised by a working mom who doesn't seem to care about her yet is very religious. Cassie is pretty and popular but she longs for her phantom dad whom she tries to track down. Julia is relegated to a helpless observer as Cassie becomes consumed by her personal demons. Claire Messud is a master in dissecting fractured friendships and digging deep into her characters' psyche. This is a wonderful pick for a book discussion." - Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library
"Messud elegantly maps the geography of a teen girl's connection with her best friend in small town Massachusetts and brings to vibrant, pulsing life the power of friendship and connection that can only exist at a fundamental age. This compact novel is magic at all levels." - Gregg Winsor, Johnson County Library
“I thought the heartbreak of the loss and complication of friendships during the middle school years was long gone. However, when reading Clare Messud’s sagacious novel about girls’ relationships with each other and their mothers, all those feelings of confusion, allegiance, and insecurity resurfaced, showing me the bittersweet experience of growing up. The Burning Girl is an essential addition to the canon of 'coming of age' novels.” - Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe