I had the privilege of grabbing an eARC of SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN by Wendy Heard, a YA thriller with POVs from two queer girls: Veronica, a photographer with ties to the the more criminal side of the art scene, and Mick, a swimmer dealing with a horrible home life and an anxiety that follows her everywhere – your local teenage girl getting pushed a little close to the edge (and I’m digging it). This is a startling and intense debut: fiery girls, chaotic, destructive art, and strong character arcs (which I think is most important of all). The unapologetic queer rep in this book is unmatched – Veronica and Mick’s relationship starts off within the first few chapters and the story is spent exploring their already-established romance, in a way that felt viciously realistic given their heightened circumstances. Their banter and the occasional attached *screeches* sexual tension felt extremely natural given the girls’ ages – it had me blushing, in some parts, but also giggling to myself (Veronica’s speech patterns are the Absolute Best, and a little scary).
“It’s so easy to destroy. It’s cheap and lazy and small.”
The intensity of the girls’ relationship paired with the intensity of the plot makes SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN absolutely engrossing. The story took a MUCH darker turn than I had anticipated and I devoured it like a guilty pleasure. The title can be taken at face-value but I found the story prompting a further analysis of its meaning (which I adore): what parts of ourselves scare us, thrills us, ignites us – what parts of ourselves are good for ourselves, and what parts are destructive? SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN plays with a darker concept that, sometimes, they are one in the same.