I Would Die for This Book!
Apologies for the lack of blogs and blog quality :(
In Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson tells the story of Mila Flores, a teenage witch tackling the hard harsh world with her BFF Riley. Together, Mila and Riley didn't just ignore other's opinions on them, they rejected them and blazed their own weird, witchy path. All they'd ever need is the two of them, right? But then everything is usurped for the besties when two popular girls at their high school, June and Dayton, turn up dead after hanging themselves in the park. And only days after their funeral, Riley's body is found. While the police chalk the deaths up to a suicide pact, Mila knows her only friend wouldn't of just killed herself, and three simultaneous deaths seems more than just a coincidence. Mila is sure it wasn't suicide that killed the girls, it was murder. No one believes her of course, and Mila is out to solve the case alone. But it isn't anyone alive who can solve the case, but Riley herself. Using strong necromancy, Mila manages to bring Riley back from the dead, but also June and Dayton on accident. Still, none of the three girls remember how or when they died, let alone who killed them.
The undead girls have only one week until they go back to their graves, and Mila has to hide them from their families while still finding the murderer. Though both time and fate oppose them, maybe if they get over past differences and work together can three zombies and a witch solve the case of their lives.
This book was supposed to be the book for my October reading club, but due to bad scheduling it fell onto another book and there was no meet for the club the next month at all. I didn't know that, and read this novel completely on my own time. But once I learned there was no meet, I didn't think I had wasted my time at all! I don't read very often anymore as you can tell by lack of blogs (schoolwork sucks up all my free time), so it was actually refreshing to sit down and devour this novel. I myself do a little witchcraft, so it was refreshing to see a book picturing it not as some crazy cursed ability that someone magically develops that gets them chased by demons and bad guys, but instead a teenage drama mixed with a tad of Charmed. The only penultimate peril in this book is the girls going back to their graves, which adds enough suspense for you to really by like "oh crap I hope they make it in time.".
Another thing I'd like to point out about this book is the representation. In most YA
fantasy books, the main character is either a white boy or girl. Even in popular representations of witchcraft in media such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed, the main characters in both those shows are pretty white women. In Undead Girl Gang, while it's a book and not a show or movie, it is stated multiple times that Mila isn't the media's ide a of pretty or white, but a fat Hispanic witch. The best thing about Mila being those things is that she doesn't care that she isn't like Dayton and June and all the other girls at her school, and that she totally owns who she is. I think that's pretty important for readers that may be self conscious about their bodies in a world full of skinny thots. And even though Mila isn't like the pretty popular girls, she does get a boy in the end, someone who truly though of Mila as beautiful.
In the end, Undead Girl Gang is good not just for it's plot, but for it's representation. Since the medieval ages witches have been demonized and thought of as devil worshipping beings, while that is 100% untrue. Undead Girl Gang shows witches as what they really are, strong women who do things no one would consider "ordinary" or "proper". Along with a main character that isn't presented like many other witches in media I've seen, and a message that says it's doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, or what others think, don't let that get in the way of being badass and making friends, is something I don't see a lot in books. To make a long story short, I would recommend this book to those sick of the fantasization of wicca in books and stuff, or those who enjoy a murder novel with a mystical element.