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Dead End Girls

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In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots? This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.


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In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots? This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.

30 review for Dead End Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    Hi Disbelief Hey Claude, how are you going? I'm okay. You, however, have a problem coming your way. Oh no! What's happening? You're being suspended Not again! Seriously, the plot is so preposterous at points it's crazy. I found Maude to be quite unlikeable but I really enjoyed Frankie's character and their story arc. The Rainbow representation is really good with the characters on journeys to be comfortable with their identities and who they fall in love with. Hi Disbelief Hey Claude, how are you going? I'm okay. You, however, have a problem coming your way. Oh no! What's happening? You're being suspended Not again! Seriously, the plot is so preposterous at points it's crazy. I found Maude to be quite unlikeable but I really enjoyed Frankie's character and their story arc. The Rainbow representation is really good with the characters on journeys to be comfortable with their identities and who they fall in love with.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    I feel like my brain has melted after reading this. Dead End Girls is the sapphic thriller I didn't know I needed. The story revolves around step-cousins Maude and Frankie. Maude has been planning to commit psuedocide for years now and escape her life being shuffled from two indifferent parents. When Frankie discovers Maude, Maude must bring Frankie with in order to keep her plans in order. Unfortunately the police soon catch onto their trail, and everything is a race against time. This book was I feel like my brain has melted after reading this. Dead End Girls is the sapphic thriller I didn't know I needed. The story revolves around step-cousins Maude and Frankie. Maude has been planning to commit psuedocide for years now and escape her life being shuffled from two indifferent parents. When Frankie discovers Maude, Maude must bring Frankie with in order to keep her plans in order. Unfortunately the police soon catch onto their trail, and everything is a race against time. This book was so freaking good. I love Maude. I love her character so damn much!! She is definitely a genius and probably a bit of a sociopath, but I don't care because I love her and her brain! I want to know a Maude in real life, minus the psuedocide bit though. Frankie is going through a lot of shit at home and has come to the conclusion that someone is trying to kill them. Their only escape is with Maude and they leap at the opportunity. Throughout the book we see Frankie question their gender and come to the realization that they're nonbinary. Frankie loves to play with gender presentation and I loved seeing this in an AFAB character. I feel like I haven't seen a lot of that in YA lit. There was constant action in this book. The whole race against time/police really worked for me, because it always kept the plot moving forward. I never felt bored and the ending was so damn satisfying. Brb I need to go inhale She's Too Pretty to Burn! Rep: white lesbian female MC, white sapphic nonbinary MC, BIPOC side characters. CWs: Blood, car accident, child abuse, death, drug use, dysphoria, gaslighting, homophobia, injury/injury detail, lesbophobia, mental illness (PTSD), murder/attempted murder, violence. Moderate: abandonment, bullying, fire/explosion, gun violence, kidnapping, outing, sexual harassment.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    If you are a big fan of Wendy Heard like I am, you will absolutely love this book! Told from two perspectives, the novel focuses on Maude and Frankie, young girls who are unhappy with their lives and are desperate to get away and build better futures for themselves. Maude is savvy and street-smart so she develops a plan and when the girls are thrown together on a Hawaiian vacation, Frankie befriends her and the plan expands. This is where the whirlwind adventure begins...and never stops! The gir If you are a big fan of Wendy Heard like I am, you will absolutely love this book! Told from two perspectives, the novel focuses on Maude and Frankie, young girls who are unhappy with their lives and are desperate to get away and build better futures for themselves. Maude is savvy and street-smart so she develops a plan and when the girls are thrown together on a Hawaiian vacation, Frankie befriends her and the plan expands. This is where the whirlwind adventure begins...and never stops! The girls are attracted to one another but haven't come out as they worry about teasing and punishment from peers. Seriously, the action doesn't stop until end so don't plan on adulting unless someone threatens your life (or needs you to make dinner). I stayed up way too long for this one but it was totally worth it! Another winner for Heard! Out in May.

  4. 4 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    Dead End Girls made sense for about a second and then descended into deep deep unhinged levels of unrealistic for a contemporary novel. It was so damn entertaining, though! The premise caught my attention and managed to keep it almost through the end. I really enjoyed Maude as a character (for the most part) and how determined she was to get the hell out of dodge. The way she dealt with unforeseen situations was also pretty fun to read about, even more so as her plans kept getting more and more c Dead End Girls made sense for about a second and then descended into deep deep unhinged levels of unrealistic for a contemporary novel. It was so damn entertaining, though! The premise caught my attention and managed to keep it almost through the end. I really enjoyed Maude as a character (for the most part) and how determined she was to get the hell out of dodge. The way she dealt with unforeseen situations was also pretty fun to read about, even more so as her plans kept getting more and more complicated and reckless lol Frankie was... there. I was pretty interested in their chapters when it came to figuring out what was going on with their family, but that was up until that twist was solved. That was also when the plot just went beyond what I could suspend my disbelief for. The final few chapters were just rushed moment after rushed moment without things making any sense or having any sort of build up at all. I found that everything sort of fizzled out into nothing until some mega convenient things happened that made it all Work Out again so Maude and Frankie could get together. That was really disappointing since I felt like I got pretty much no resolution for some of the big plot points in the book. And the romance: eh. It was pretty lukewarm to me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    I thoroughly enjoyed She’s Too Pretty to Burn, so I had really high expectations of Dead End Girls. That being said, this book just didn’t hit the way that I wanted it to. What Heard does well in this book is really capture the essence of two desperate teen girls who will do anything to get out of their current situation all while being messy and making questionable decisions along the way. As far as the characters go, I definitely preferred the chapters told from Frankie’s POV rather than Maude I thoroughly enjoyed She’s Too Pretty to Burn, so I had really high expectations of Dead End Girls. That being said, this book just didn’t hit the way that I wanted it to. What Heard does well in this book is really capture the essence of two desperate teen girls who will do anything to get out of their current situation all while being messy and making questionable decisions along the way. As far as the characters go, I definitely preferred the chapters told from Frankie’s POV rather than Maude’s. I feel like Frankie’s inner monologue and struggles from not being accepted because of her nonconformity to gender roles as well as being queer is something that a lot of readers will gravitate towards; especially the scenes that detail her bigoted grandmother who funds her private education. I don’t really have much to say about Maude because I just felt like so much was missing from her personality, but I can’t really put my finger on why. And I’ll be honest, the romance between Maude and Frankie knowing that they are step-cousins who were raised within the same family sphere just felt gross to me. There wasn’t an acknowledgment that there relationship was at all taboo, and I just couldn’t get over that fact. Overall, I’m just sort of meh with this one. Thank you to Hachette Audio for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sapphic Shelves

    Wendy Heard readers rejoice!!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Thank you to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review. CWs: faking their own death, murder, stabbing, hit-and-run, homophobia, drug overdose I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. I though the premise was super interesting, it was really fast and easy to read, it was definitely thrilling, but I didn’t connect or relate to either character. The book is told mostly from Maude’s POV with a few chapters from Frankie’s. Frankie’s started out being in the past as we learn ab Thank you to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review. CWs: faking their own death, murder, stabbing, hit-and-run, homophobia, drug overdose I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. I though the premise was super interesting, it was really fast and easy to read, it was definitely thrilling, but I didn’t connect or relate to either character. The book is told mostly from Maude’s POV with a few chapters from Frankie’s. Frankie’s started out being in the past as we learn about the events that were happening that push her to go along with Maude when she learns of Maude’s plan. I thought this was really interesting, but it was also predictable and I felt like it didn’t really do much to the main plot. Maude was an interesting character for sure. She was really smart, selfish, and often pretty rude. I couldn’t figure out if she was supposed to be unlikeable or if it was just me. I thought learning about all of Maude’s plans for how to fake her death and escape were interesting, and when she threw most of them away to let Frankie go with her it meant we got to see Maude come up with new plans. I also liked the relationship between the two girls. Both are queer, and Frankie is struggling to figure out her gender identity. This isn’t really discussed in major detail. I didn’t really feel romance or love while reading, but it was kind of sweet towards the end with the girls’ relationship. Overall it was a really fast-paced and intense read. I read it in a couple of sittings and couldn’t put it down, but I wasn’t a big fan of the main characters. Other readers might really enjoy this sapphic YA thriller.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kit Frick

    Utterly addictive. Dead End Girls is a riveting, holds-no-punches thriller with the deeply relatable adolescent hunger for escape and reinvention at its core.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kal ★ Reader Voracious

    holy hell, this was GOOD. also the audiobook narration is INCREDIBLE. Told in dual timelines, Dead End Girls is the sapphic thriller you didn't know you needed in your life! Tightly plotted, the book is full of action and high stakes that is utterly addictive and impossible to put down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time while listening. Protect Maude & Frankie! This plot is bonkers in the best of ways. From pseudocide to accidental murder and running from the cops (as well as their past) holy hell, this was GOOD. also the audiobook narration is INCREDIBLE. Told in dual timelines, Dead End Girls is the sapphic thriller you didn't know you needed in your life! Tightly plotted, the book is full of action and high stakes that is utterly addictive and impossible to put down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time while listening. Protect Maude & Frankie! This plot is bonkers in the best of ways. From pseudocide to accidental murder and running from the cops (as well as their past), Maude and Frankie are going through it in this book and just trying to start over. Maude's a mastermind who's probably watched way too much True Crime Content and I'm honestly in awe of her brain. But as they find out: even the best laid plans cannot account for everything. I love that we learn about Frankie's reasons for wanting to disappear through timeline POV chapters, slowly piecing together everything as the chapters get closer to the present-day. We learn so much about Frankie's character through these flashbacks. Words cannot express how much I adore Maude and Frankie. They start out as partners-in-crime but their chemistry sparks and the their slowburn romance so good. Because honestly, falling in love while on the run from the police is just iconic. Dead End Girls is explosive, gripping the reader from the first page until the last. I love the way things get more and more unhinged as they stray further from The Plan, doing their best and making some of the worst decisions possible. But this book also explores identity: as Maude and Frankie escape their lives, their narratives explore question the sexuality and gender, making Dead End Girls a beautiful coming of age story of self-acceptance in addition to a captivating sapphic thriller. Highly recommended and this won't be my last book from Wendy Heard! Audiobook notes: 10/10 performance from Natalie Naudus & Taylor Meskimen! They really brought the story and characters to life and somehow managed to instill the page-turning sense of urgency with their narration. Representation: nonbinary rep, wlnb, sapphic, fat rep Content Warnings: abandonment, attempted murder, bullying, child abuse, drug use, suicide mention ALC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for my honest review. This does not impact my opinions of the book nor the contents of my review. Quotations are from an unfinished proof and subject to change upon final publication. Blog • Twitter • Instagram • Pinterest • Ko-fi • Patreon

  10. 4 out of 5

    ReadingTilTheBreakOfDawn

    I'm a full fledged Wendy Heard fan now! After reading She's Too Pretty To Burn in 2021, I knew the voice of this author was something special. I loved her characters and their unique journeys she put them on. So when I saw Natalie Naudus recommend this book on Instagram because she narrated it and loved it, I had to check it out. And I'm so glad I did. It's the YA sapphic thriller I didn't know I so desperately needed. Told in 2 POVs, we follow 2 high school girls on vacation in Hawaii with their I'm a full fledged Wendy Heard fan now! After reading She's Too Pretty To Burn in 2021, I knew the voice of this author was something special. I loved her characters and their unique journeys she put them on. So when I saw Natalie Naudus recommend this book on Instagram because she narrated it and loved it, I had to check it out. And I'm so glad I did. It's the YA sapphic thriller I didn't know I so desperately needed. Told in 2 POVs, we follow 2 high school girls on vacation in Hawaii with their families when one of them is ready to ditch the crew and make their plans a reality. And it is crazy well planned out. Like to a T! But her plans are for her and her alone. Maude has had enough being shuffled back and forth between parents and not being wanted by either one of them. She hasn't felt loved and she hasn't felt like she could be herself in a very long time. So for the last couple of years, she's meticulously planned her death so she can live. But when circumstances lead to Frankie tagging along, that's when everything gets turned upside down and Maude's plans now have to include 2 people. And Maude doesn't have the resources for it. With fast thinking and intelligent minds between the two, we are lead on a roller coaster of events that is heart pounding, touching and unbelievable, but oh so dang good. Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this story and the great narration from Natalie Naudus as Maude and Taylor Meskimen as Frankie. To have 2 strong female teenager protagonists on the run from their families in search of better lives and getting caught up in some serious crimes was pretty darn entertaining. It's non-stop action and never for one moment are you ever bored. There is always something happening. And even within the action, we get to see a story of 2 teenagers figuring out their identities and who they want to be. Maude finally is comfortable in her own skin to come out and Frankie tries on nonbinary because they feel like one gender just doesn't fit them. I loved that Wendy Heard dove into these characters identities all while having them being on the run. It was high octane, nail biting, full speed ahead for these characters all throughout. While some aspects were a bit over the top, you gotta love the tenacity of these two and everything they overcame WIth that said, if you're looking for a YA Thriller that is smartly written, full of action and with 2 very strong characters, please give Dead End Girls a chance. Maude is my new favorite YA badass chick. I could read more and more about her well thought-out plans and what these two will do next. Frankie and Maude are ready to take on the world. Watch out!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ladzinski

    Read a physical ARC Content warning: Murder, drug overdose, homophobic bullying, bullying, blackmail, attempted murder In Dead End Girls, Maude wants to quit her life, but not in a way that prevents her from further participating. She has a plan to fake her death, but when her step-cousin, Frankie, catches onto the plan, she wants in. What then starts is a journey of being gay, doing crime and self-discovery as the two girls sprint away from their families and towards something else. Exciting, unex Read a physical ARC Content warning: Murder, drug overdose, homophobic bullying, bullying, blackmail, attempted murder In Dead End Girls, Maude wants to quit her life, but not in a way that prevents her from further participating. She has a plan to fake her death, but when her step-cousin, Frankie, catches onto the plan, she wants in. What then starts is a journey of being gay, doing crime and self-discovery as the two girls sprint away from their families and towards something else. Exciting, unexpectedly tender, and a wild ride from start to finish. This book is fun, but by no means is it fluffy. Heard does a phenomenal job layering both girls’ reason for wanting to leave their shitty families. I’m not going to speak about specifics because that would be spoilers. What I can say, is that while there are elements that are steeped in rich girl privilege, the book is aware of this and calls it out as it sees it. But the reasons are also so heart-breaking in ways that cannot be resolved with some grand gesture or even family therapy. It’s really well-done and compelling. When it comes to the fake death strategy, the cracks are covered up enough that my suspension of disbelief held together for the whole book. What’s nice is that Heard also provides insight into what the adults around the girls are doing. Technology plays as much of a role as any character, providing to be both help and nemesis. Maude checking social media is by far among the most stressful bits. The tension ramps up and returns the sense of urgency. The pacing is simply exquisite, and I couldn’t keep myself away from it for any extended period of time. My favorite thing is that this book makes me want to yell at the teens and the adults in equal measure. The ending is cathartic, and it’s admirable how little will stop these girls from escaping the nightmare that is their lives.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    4.75 Stars Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Audio for the ALC of this book! Maude has grand plans to fake her death, run away, and live free as a completely different person, out from under her family's thumb. But when Frankie discovers her plot while on "family vacation" in Hawaii, they insist Maude takes them with her. This was amazing! Wendy Heard writes thrillers like no other and I was invested from the first page to the last. I love Maude, love Frankie, love the faking their deaths plots 4.75 Stars Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Audio for the ALC of this book! Maude has grand plans to fake her death, run away, and live free as a completely different person, out from under her family's thumb. But when Frankie discovers her plot while on "family vacation" in Hawaii, they insist Maude takes them with her. This was amazing! Wendy Heard writes thrillers like no other and I was invested from the first page to the last. I love Maude, love Frankie, love the faking their deaths plots and the on the run scenes and everything else that happens that would be spoilery!!! There are so many twists and turns, especially within Frankie's storyline. And I'm honestly just in love with the whole vibe. I LOVED the ending. This book will grab you by the shirt and pull you underwater for the whole ride, and you'll be glad it did! The audiobook narration is excellent, and I highly recommend! Content Warnings Graphic: Homophobia, Death, Blood, Child abuse, and Murder Moderate: Gaslighting, Kidnapping, Sexual assault, Bullying, Abandonment, Car accident, Drug abuse, and Sexual harassment Minor: Fatphobia

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    Received an Arc from a friendship with the author Listen I know I describe books as “bonkers” a lot but nobody does bonkers like Wendy Heard. This is her fourth book, second YA and every single one has had me going “wait wHAT” in the best possible way, that’s how I pitch them at work, and that’s how I’m gonna describe this one. This is a very fast read partially because I never wanted to put it down. Chapters are short and they become like potato chips after a while: just one more. This book gave Received an Arc from a friendship with the author Listen I know I describe books as “bonkers” a lot but nobody does bonkers like Wendy Heard. This is her fourth book, second YA and every single one has had me going “wait wHAT” in the best possible way, that’s how I pitch them at work, and that’s how I’m gonna describe this one. This is a very fast read partially because I never wanted to put it down. Chapters are short and they become like potato chips after a while: just one more. This book gave me such anxiety in the best way because I constantly found myself going “there’s no way this can go well, right???” And while I predicted part of the ending, the execution is wild enough to still leave me wondering where do we go from here? Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good YA thriller this spring!

  14. 4 out of 5

    B

    10/10 do not get the hype. I can only suspend disbelief so much before it just gets to be too much. And this was absolutely too much. I hated everything and everyone about this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Liza | Literary Liza

    My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½⭐️ (4.5 stars) WOW! 🤯 After really enjoying the thrilling romp that was She’s Too Pretty to Burn last year, I definitely had my eyes on Wendy Heard’s newest novel, Dead End Girls. And boy, did it not disappoint! “We fly to Hawaii on Saturday, and a few days later I’ll be dead. It will be a tragic accident. I seriously cannot wait.” Firstly, what. a. concept! The book kicks off with Maude in the throws of committing pseudocide (i.e., faking her own death). She’s been playing My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½⭐️ (4.5 stars) WOW! 🤯 After really enjoying the thrilling romp that was She’s Too Pretty to Burn last year, I definitely had my eyes on Wendy Heard’s newest novel, Dead End Girls. And boy, did it not disappoint! “We fly to Hawaii on Saturday, and a few days later I’ll be dead. It will be a tragic accident. I seriously cannot wait.” Firstly, what. a. concept! The book kicks off with Maude in the throws of committing pseudocide (i.e., faking her own death). She’s been playing the part of the perfect student, daughter, and girlfriend all the while secretly working side jobs, procuring fake but inscrutable IDs, and creating her new British identity, Elizabeth. She has it all planned out and is ready to set it in motion during her step-family’s annual trip to Hawaii. That is – until her step-cousin catches her in the act. But Frankie is battling her own demons, and rather than rat Maude out, she wants in herself. But Maude never anticipated a tagalong on her journey, and her intricate planning quickly unravels under the stark reality of their situation. But the girls are in it together now. And there’s no going back. “We don’t belong on this island. We don’t even exist here. We’re no one, going nowhere, untraceable, untamable. And now I wonder if we’re truly wild, because what we just did isn’t what Maude would ever do. It’s not even what Elizabeth would do. I’m someone unexpected, with new and dark potential, and I feel… Alive. At last.” One of the things I loved best about this novel’s predecessor, She’s Too Pretty to Burn, was Heard’s ability to build such intense and sinister suspense throughout her story. And Dead End Girls definitely capitalizes on this strength. It starts on a high and just keeps getting more and more nail-biting, hair-raising worthy; an absolute thrill of a ride. Honestly, Maude and Frankie do not catch a break! And consequently, neither do you as the reader. I’m talking up-all-night, checking-the-clock-and-promising-yourself-just-one-more-chapter, going-to-bed-way-too-late-even-though-you’re-supposed-to-be-a-reasonable-adult, seriously, impossible-to-put-down suspense. Both Maude and Frankie were really interesting characters to follow as well. Maude was instantly appealing to me as a protagonist. Super unique and very driven. Despite knowing she wasn’t doing The Right Thing, she was so easy to root for. Frankie took a little longer for me to warm up to because she does start out kind of annoying. But that character development? *chef’s kiss* Dead End Girls reads like this wacky mix between a dramatic thriller and a totally unconventional road trip. Unexpected? Yes. But it works, in a really fun way. It was easy to get swept up in the adventure along with these characters and feel for them as things continue to turn from bad to worse. Definitely a read worth checking out! 💥 Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and the publisher, Christy Ottaviano Books/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.5 stars rounded up This was an incredibly quick read - not in terms of length but because it kept me up late last night to get to the end just to see what would happen. No one could accuse Wendy Heard of writing a boring story, that's for sure. It was a lot of fun from beginning to end. However, there were a few things that took a star and a half off this rating for me. - Loved the nonbinary/lesbian representation, and I also appreciate how difficult it is for many teenagers to come out to thei 3.5 stars rounded up This was an incredibly quick read - not in terms of length but because it kept me up late last night to get to the end just to see what would happen. No one could accuse Wendy Heard of writing a boring story, that's for sure. It was a lot of fun from beginning to end. However, there were a few things that took a star and a half off this rating for me. - Loved the nonbinary/lesbian representation, and I also appreciate how difficult it is for many teenagers to come out to their friends and family, deal with bullying, etc. However, JUST ONCE I'd love to see queer teens who are actually 100% confident in their identities and who really couldn't care less whether people don't like it because they are who they are. Again, I totally get that what Maude and Frankie were dealing with when it came to their respective sexualities/gender identities is all too common in the real world, so Heard's not wrong for writing from this perspective. However, there are plenty of nonbinary and LGBTQI+ folks out there who aren't struggling with their identities and are quite confident in them and I'd love to see more characters written this way. - I really struggled to connect with either Frankie or Maude. We were given a cursory rundown of their backstory, but only insofar as it informed both of their motivation to fake their own death. I don't feel like I really learned anything about either of them and therefore I didn't care all that much about them. I rooted for them because it would make the story better, but I didn't feel invested in the outcome either way. Again, that's likely a personal quirk and Heard had a LOT to accomplish in a little over 300 pages, but I just felt a little disconnected. - The things that happened in this book go from hard to believe to downright ludicrous. I get that the premise alone didn't really lend itself to much realism and that this book isn't trying to be a hyperrealistic portrait of young criminals, but things got wilder and wilder to the point that I got somewhat detached from the story because it was so ridiculous. Of course, as stated above, ridiculous can be fun, so it still kept me reading, but the suspension of disbelief necessary to keep your head in the game here may test certain readers' thresholds. All in all, an entertaining read that likely won't leave much of a lasting impression but was a lot of fun while it lasted.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: bodyshaming, drugging, car accident, knife violence, attempted sexual assault 4.4 Before the "family" vacation ends, Maude will be dead. Or, at least, it'll look that way. After meticulously planning for years, she's finally going to escape both her neglectful parents and her stepfather's awful family and become someone totally new- or, that was the plan before Frankie figures out what she's up to. Taking along a reckless rich girl was absolutely not in the I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: bodyshaming, drugging, car accident, knife violence, attempted sexual assault 4.4 Before the "family" vacation ends, Maude will be dead. Or, at least, it'll look that way. After meticulously planning for years, she's finally going to escape both her neglectful parents and her stepfather's awful family and become someone totally new- or, that was the plan before Frankie figures out what she's up to. Taking along a reckless rich girl was absolutely not in the cards, but having to fake Frankie's death is better than not getting away at all. And it turns out Frankie has her own reasons for being so willing to run away. As things get more complicated for and between the two girls, it feels like outrunning their pasts and their problems is as unlikely as it is necessary. If you're looking for a slow burn sapphic romance against a backdrop of running from the cops, accidental murder, and a gender crisis on the side, this is absolutely the book for you! This book has such good chemistry! Maude and Frankie work so well together, and the way they feel magnetized towards each other is only more clear when you get Frankie's POV as well. The romance is well done, tense, and impossible to look away from even as everything else is falling apart. This book has something like a queer Bonnie & Clyde feeling to it, without the full out robbery. You can't not root them on, as they avoid the law and go to the edge for each other, and it's just so compelling. I also really appreciated the fact that Frankie is nonbinary! It's not the main point of the plot or Frankie's arc at all, but the background gender questioning was so great, and I loved seeing Frankie's exploration of self. Nonbinary love interests are still pretty rare, and I was so happy to see Frankie take on that role. For me, this story was a little too far fetched right from the beginning, so getting won over was a little touch and go in terms of the actual plot. The reason for Maude going to the efforts to fake-die felt thin, and Frankie's on the converse seemed over dramatic and a little hard to believe. But if you're not going into this for realism, the energy of this book will definitely win you over.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. I wasn't expecting much here. I read She's Too Pretty to Burn last year, and I didn't hate it. But I also didn't love it. I was expecting this book to fall in pretty much the same category. I am happy to say that I was wrong on that account. Now, don't misread me here. This book is still melodramatic. It is still over-the-top. It is still wildly unbelievable, 4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. I wasn't expecting much here. I read She's Too Pretty to Burn last year, and I didn't hate it. But I also didn't love it. I was expecting this book to fall in pretty much the same category. I am happy to say that I was wrong on that account. Now, don't misread me here. This book is still melodramatic. It is still over-the-top. It is still wildly unbelievable, but it is also something that STPTB wasn't (at least for me): fun. I had fun reading this on-the-run, last-ditch-effort story, and that made some of the melodrama worth it. I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I was having fun reading it. I enjoyed this book. Now, it wasn't perfect--far from it--but it was enjoyable nonetheless. There are some people who absolutely love this book. My full review is available at Gateway Reviews.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    3.5 - I really enjoyed this pulse-pounding queer YA thriller featuring two teens who fake their own deaths to escape from dangerous family situations. This book was great on audio narrated by Natalie Naudus and Taylor Meskimen. I loved the dual timeline story as we learn more about what caused Maude and Frankie to take the drastic steps they did. I got a lot of Thelma and Louise type road story vibes from this book with lots of important queer rep thrown in for good measure. Not your average thr 3.5 - I really enjoyed this pulse-pounding queer YA thriller featuring two teens who fake their own deaths to escape from dangerous family situations. This book was great on audio narrated by Natalie Naudus and Taylor Meskimen. I loved the dual timeline story as we learn more about what caused Maude and Frankie to take the drastic steps they did. I got a lot of Thelma and Louise type road story vibes from this book with lots of important queer rep thrown in for good measure. Not your average thriller, this had a little bit of everything - murder, romance, intrigue, etc. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance listening copy!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon Rabby

    Maude is a snarky little cunt, so naturally, I warmed to her immediately. I’m talking fifth page. She’s also an absolute fucking genius, and it was so fascinating to learn of what she’d planned. How well she’d thought it all out. This was a sexier, modern play on Thelma and Louise And what a wild ride it was. It was a delicious, disastrous love story and I could not put it down. Read it all in one sitting. The characters were just perfect. I loved watching Frankie and Maude finally find themselv Maude is a snarky little cunt, so naturally, I warmed to her immediately. I’m talking fifth page. She’s also an absolute fucking genius, and it was so fascinating to learn of what she’d planned. How well she’d thought it all out. This was a sexier, modern play on Thelma and Louise And what a wild ride it was. It was a delicious, disastrous love story and I could not put it down. Read it all in one sitting. The characters were just perfect. I loved watching Frankie and Maude finally find themselves together. 12/10!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    Is this Natalie Naudus' best work so far? Possibly. There was a lot of room to play with reactions and emotions, to show how diverse her range is. It is really voice acting, not just narrating. Taylor Meskimen also did a great job. Dead End Girls is an amazing audiobook experience. The adrenaline packed story does not let down. We're on fight or flight mode for the entire ride. Every time you think things are calming down, something even bigger happens. The believability of it all is questionable, Is this Natalie Naudus' best work so far? Possibly. There was a lot of room to play with reactions and emotions, to show how diverse her range is. It is really voice acting, not just narrating. Taylor Meskimen also did a great job. Dead End Girls is an amazing audiobook experience. The adrenaline packed story does not let down. We're on fight or flight mode for the entire ride. Every time you think things are calming down, something even bigger happens. The believability of it all is questionable, but the story is highly entertaining. What was supposed to be a flawless plan snowballs very quickly into a big mess that involves manslaughter, murder, and a lot of running away. In the end, Dead End Girls is an electrifying thriller and a twisted coming of age story, with a pinch of teenage love and self acceptance. Solid 4*, made 4.5 because of Naudus <3

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber Smith

    I could not put this one down. I loved Maude and Frankie. Their slow-burn romance was so sweet. The dual point of view was perfect. We got to learn so much about Frankie in the flashbacks. All the action had me on the edge of my seat. The narration in the audio was awesome. Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Audio for an audio arc in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vinícius

    the way i am craving for this book is UNHEALTHY

  24. 4 out of 5

    M

    It’s gay AND smart. Read it

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    The MC sounds like she is 12 not 17. I can't. The MC sounds like she is 12 not 17. I can't.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marissa Mariano

    This was a fast paced ya thriller that I really enjoyed. I was a little let down by the twist but the ending redeemed itself. I think it’s the perfect read for anyone and I highly recommend.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raeanne Spoom

    Dead end girls surprised with me with how dynamic it can be while still being a YA novel. It is a fast paced thriller that takes on important topics such as gender and sexuality. I truly understood why each character wanted to fake their own death. Maude is smart and resourceful but not great with her feelings. Frankie is kind and loyal while being in desperate need of Maude. When they come together they are a dynamic duo.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie | niftyreads

    What’s sad is that I absolutely loved the opening to this book. That was the first note I made: “what an opening.” But by 35% into the audio, I had enough, and it was a DNF for me. Let me preface this with that; yes, I have read books where people have a romance and find out they are related down the line (Regency romances) or step-siblings who never met (reverse harem, and then suddenly their parents are married). What weirded me out and I couldn’t handle in DEAD END GIRLS is that the MC is attr What’s sad is that I absolutely loved the opening to this book. That was the first note I made: “what an opening.” But by 35% into the audio, I had enough, and it was a DNF for me. Let me preface this with that; yes, I have read books where people have a romance and find out they are related down the line (Regency romances) or step-siblings who never met (reverse harem, and then suddenly their parents are married). What weirded me out and I couldn’t handle in DEAD END GIRLS is that the MC is attracted to her step-cousin from the very beginning. Yes, they may barely know each other, BUT they have been step-cousins and know they are in the family way. 🤢 I get it’s not a blood relationship. But it still grosses me out because they knew ahead of time. At first, I ignored the comments. Then they just started to appear more and more. And I was not okay with it. Examples (not word for word): "She's showering, and I wish I could go look at her naked." "I've never had sex, but I want to sleep with her.” “She's next to me in bed, and I just want to grab her.” I was excited about this, but it wasn’t for me. I hope it finds the right audience as it has a great premise. I wish it were two friends, not cousins.

  29. 4 out of 5

    BadassCmd

    Me for 0-80%: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes Me for 80-95%: Oh no oh no oh no oh no Me for 95-100%: Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh yes! Really, I loved this book. It has incredible "Be Sapphic Do Crime" energy and I am here for it. I also really love female characters who are both insanely smart, but also a touch unhinged, so Maude was the perfect main character for me. I want to watch her burn the world down. I listened to the audiobook and then pre-ordered the hardcover copy before I was even finished. "In a few days, I'l Me for 0-80%: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes Me for 80-95%: Oh no oh no oh no oh no Me for 95-100%: Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh yes! Really, I loved this book. It has incredible "Be Sapphic Do Crime" energy and I am here for it. I also really love female characters who are both insanely smart, but also a touch unhinged, so Maude was the perfect main character for me. I want to watch her burn the world down. I listened to the audiobook and then pre-ordered the hardcover copy before I was even finished. "In a few days, I'll be dead. It will be a tragic accident. I really cannot wait."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Really, really solid thriller. Thought it was going to go Thelma & Louise, but ended up being so much more. An example of a pandemic-written novel that benefitted from the author’s being in lockdown: as Heard writes in the acknowledgements, claustrophobic circumstances inspired her to write big. Well done.

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