A queer YA reimagining of Thelma & Louise with the aesthetic of Riverdale, for fans of Mindy McGinnis, Courtney Summers, and Rory Power. Love on the dark side of freedom When Trixie picks up her best friend Lux for their weekend getaway, they’re looking to forget the despair of being trapped in their dead-end rustbelt town. The girls are packing light: a supply of Diet Coke and an ‘89 Canon to help Lux frame the world in a sunnier light; half a pack of cigarettes that Trixie doesn’t really smoke, and a knife she’s hanging on to for a friend that she’s never used before. But a single night of violence derails their trip, and the girls go from ordinary high schoolers to wanted fugitives. Trying to stay ahead of the cops and a hellscape of media attention, Trixie and Lux grapple with an unforgiving landscape, rapidly diminishing supplies, and disastrous decisions at every turn. As they are transformed by the media into the face of a #MeToo movement they didn’t ask to lead, Trixie and Lux realize that they can only rely on each other, and that the love they find together is the one thing that truly makes them free. Julia Lynn Rubin takes readers on “a blistering, unapologetic thrill ride” (Emma Berquis) that will leave them haunted and reeling. Trouble Girls is a “a powerful, beautifully-written gut punch” (Sophie Gonzales).
As they begin, their first stop leads them to a horrible situation (assault), and Trixie makes a split-second decision that sparks a need to run. After that, they consider the way that such events are viewed by the public and the law, deciding to take their chances on the run. Their trip is complicated by their lack of funds and rising fear of what is happening. As the world views their case, it becomes entwined in the #metoo movement. As they question themselves and the world, Trixie and Lux must decide how it will all turn out.
What I loved: This was a truly gripping story that pulled the reader in from the start. It was challenging to read at times, as there is very present danger and assault on page. The book really sets the atmosphere and mindset well, giving the weight and difficulty of the situations and decisions they make. I found the portrayal of the fallout from a past and the current event to feel pretty realistic, with their anxiety and pain permeating the book. As they begin to rely on themselves and each other, the intensity transforms, and I felt the LGBT romance was a great touch.
The conversations around misogyny, metoo, and related rape culture to be thought-provoking. The book shows a few sides of these issues, and I think it would be great for discussion in classrooms or clubs. It ends up being quite an immersive and intense read with unexpected potency.
What left me wanting more: The book felt a bit drawn out in places, but it did also feel realistic to being on the run and figuring out what to do. The ending is also uncertain, with the focus on the journey throughout. I would have liked to see beyond the current end of the book a bit with an epilogue or additional chapter, but this may be just me, as I like to know everything!
Final verdict: Atmospheric, intense, and with thought-provoking themes, TROUBLE GIRLS is a clever and suspenseful YA reimagining of Thelma and Louise. Would recommend for fans of THE PROJECT, THEY WISH THEY WERE US, and I KILLED ZOE SPANOS.