Burn Girl

Publication Date: 10 Jan. 2015
Albert Whitman and Company

ISBN 9780807522172

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    Arlie's face was disfigured by burns when her stepfather's meth lab exploded. After that, Arlie discovered the street smarts and survival skills she needed to shelter her addict mother, since the law and Lloyd, her deranged stepfather, are both looking for them. People died in the explosion and everyone wants answers. But Arlie's carefully constructed world is ripped apart when her mother commits suicide shortly after her 16th birthday. Now she can no longer remain hidden. Social Services steps in and before Arlie can make sense of anything, she is following the rules, going to school, and living in a 31-foot Airstream trailer with an eccentric uncle she didn't even know she had. Then she meets a boy who doesn't care about her scars or her past. Just when she begins to think a normal life might be possible, Lloyd shows up. He's looking for the drug money he insists Arlie's mother stole. Will Arlie be able to shield her Uncle and her boyfriend from Lloyd? Did Lloyd somehow play a role in her mother's death? And can she get rid of him once and for all before her world blows apart again?

    "Readers will like the part survival, part romance, part friendship story." VOYA, December 2015
    "While Arlie's decision to try to face Lloyd alone will frustrate some readers, Mikulencak's debut effectively reveals the fear and hard-learned self-reliance that fuel Arlie's actions. There aren't many YA novels from this perspective, and Mikulencak does a good job of illuminating Arlie's matter-of-fact point of view and surrounding her with supportive, multifaceted characters. Compassionate and moving." Booklist, September 15, 2015


    "A serviceable problem novel with elements of romance and suspense." School Library Journal, September 1, 2015
    "The well-drawn supporting characters hold everything together, notably best friend Mo, love interest Cody, and grandmother figure Dora. Frank, however, is the life of the story. As a first-time father to a teen niece he's just met, he's a wonderfully awkward mix of clueless and clued-in as he navigates his new role and works to create a home for Arlie." Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2015