Elliott D’Angelo-Brandt is sick and tired of putting up with it all. Every week, she attends a support group for teen victims of sexual assault, but all they do is talk. Elliott’s done with talking. What she wants is justice.
And she has a plan for getting it: a spell book that she found in her late mom’s belongings that actually works. Elliott recruits a coven of fellow survivors from the group. She, Madeline, Chloe, and Bea don’t have much in common, but they are united in their rage at a system that heaps judgments on victims and never seems to punish those who deserve it.
As they each take a turn casting a hex against their unrepentant assailants, the girls find themselves leaning on each other in ways they never expected—and realizing that revenge has heavy implications. Each member of the coven will have to make a choice: continue down the path of magical vigilantism or discover what it truly means to claim their power.
For Girls Who Walk Through Fire is a fierce, deeply moving novel about perseverance in the face of injustice and the transformational power of friendship.
Author: Kim DeRose
Thank you to NetGalley and Union Square & Co. - A subsidiary of Sterling Publishing, Union Square & Co. for providing me with an egalley of this book to read and give my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
I want to start this review by mentioning that there are many triggers regarding rape/sexual assault in this book. I think it's important for the audience to know this prior to picking this book up. It does talk about it in the blurb but there are some pretty explicit scenes which may provoke feelings for many in this book.
That being said, I love the idea of girls coming together for a common cause and seeking a way to heal. I will say I was not happy with the revenge aspect of this book. Do I understand and empathize with the characters and why they would want this,? Yes. When someone has been wronged they want justice. Do I agree with it? No. I feel like the revenge aspect of this book, while understandable, went too far. And the girls had no true consequences for their actions. The "blowback" as they refer to it does happen, the girls do feel the backlash of using their magic, but it doesn't slow them down or stop them. And while there is growth in most of the characters in this book, it truly doesn't happen until the last 20%. If you are searching to reach a YA audience age group and teach them other outlets, more productive outlets, for healing, I feel like this should have been more prominent starting earlier in the book. I wanted to see the idea of forgiveness and empowerment earlier. Though them coming together outside of their group meeting was one way they did empower themselves. But I want to see the lessons being learned all along the way, I really didn't feel this until all their stories were told towards the end of the book. On a good note, the girls did eventually learn there are better and more powerful ways of using their magic and at the end they share it with others so they can empower those who go through these types of experiences. The journey they take to reclaim their power is different for each of them.
I really enjoyed the aspect of these girls creating a coven and coming together not only as victims, but as friends. It gives rise to a group coming together to heal. And it also shows that girls from all aspects of life can and do endure sexual assault and rape. This does not discriminate because of color or race and can happen to anyone. Elliot, Bea, Chloe, and Madeline are strong characters, though the book is told in third person and this made it a bit hard to truly connect with them. But I do think they are relatable. DeRose does a good job fleshing them out; each with a distinct personality and story. The exploration of friendship and connection, love and compassion, was my favorite aspect of this book.
DeRose is a great story teller. Her writing is evocative and emotional. The pacing of this book was spot on. I really didn't want to put it down because I was invested in seeing these girls gain some growth. I wanted to know what each girl endured and wanted to watch them take back their power and receive justice.
Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to admire the cover of this book. I love how it touches on the aspects of the magic the girls use to transform throughout the book.
Overall, this was a truly enjoyable book. I think many girls will not only relate to these characters but will learn the lesson of empowering themselves, as victims of sexual assault or just as teens in general. I would love to read more from this author in the future. 3.5 Stars.
You can visit her online at www.kimderose.com or find her on Instagram at @kimderosewrites