Girls Burn Brighter – By Shobha Roa

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Goodreads Synopsis: When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima’s father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yogurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them. 

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

Wow, what a book! Even now, two months later I am flabbergasted.

To begin with I was unsure if I would like Girls Burn Brighter as it took me a little while to get into the writing style, but once I did was hooked. I couldn’t stop reading, even though at times I was so saddened by the story I almost wanted to. And yet I had to keep reading, I had to know what was going to happen to the two women in the story, and I desperately wanted them to have a happy ending. I loved both characters, they were such strong women and I felt such a connection to both.

I think this was an important book for me to read because I hadn’t really known much about the slavery that happens to illegal immigrants. I saw some reviews on Goodreads that said that the violence in this story was too much and that it didn’t have a purpose. I disagree, I think this book had a lot of purpose and it never felt over the top to me.  But I will give trigger warnings for sexual violence, domestic violence and human trafficking.

That all being said I did have a hard time with the rating of this book. Originally I gave it three stars because I was so furious by the ending. I won’t say what happens, only that it’s a little too vague for me. And usually I like vague endings.  I did also feel like the book was did a bit of queer baiting. The relationship between Savitha and Poorinma was very close, and to me it was suggested that they were in love. But I could definitely be wrong.

In the end I gave this book 4 stars.

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