Yesterday, I finished Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter. And more than 24 hours later, I’m still not entirely sure what I think of it.
A lot of reviews on Goodreads had classified this book as edgy, something that kept you on the edge of your seat throughout it. I didn’t get that when I read it.
Hunter chronicles the intertwining lives of Perry, her mom Myra and step-dad Jim, Perry’s best friend Dayna aka Baby Girl, and Jamey. Perry and Baby Girl live in not the greatest of situations and don’t even really seem to be the type of people who would end up being friends. However, the pair manage to get into trouble together, stealing cars, shoplifting (which lands them in jail overnight) and sneaking out at night.
Jamey is an ex-con with a history who lives a couple trailers down from Perry. He creates an online profile and begins to communicate with Baby Girl and Perry, posing as a local high school student.
(If you are trying to explain to teenagers/anyone with a Facebook account why you shouldn’t friend or communicate with people you don’t know, this book could serve as an example.)
Eventually, Jamey and the girls set up a meet, which doesn’t go as planned by either side.
This leads Perry and Baby Girl down different paths as they try to deal with what happened to them.
Hunter’s book was praised in a lot of places and made some lists as a must-read of 2014. But I don’t get it.
The book was short, at less than 250 pages, but it felt like the main action was contained to the final third. The rest was just exposition setting up the main action.
Also, Hunter wrote in rotating third-person narration, meaning every chapter was told from a different character’s perspective. I don’t mind a rotating narrator, in some books its ideal, but I got irritated with it in this book.
If you’re interested in stories where there are no characters you can truly latch on to as being positive, this isn’t the book for you either. The entire tone of the story was depressing and it felt like every character was purposefully written to be unlikable. That’s not the type of book I like. (Maybe because some of those characters were likely realistic to stereotypes of folks living in low-income situations.)
This is not a book I would highly recommend, but it was a quick, interesting, different type of read.