Released on: January 27, 2015
I purchased this book for my own reading.
Thank you Bella for giving me a place I can share my reviews.
You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.
Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.
Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.
Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?
This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and violence.
Revised edition: Previously published as two volumes, Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, this combined edition includes editorial revisions.
Atlanta Burns, the book, is hard to like, but easy to love, the same can be said for the character who shares the title. There is much pain in Atlanta and just enough darkness that she can come across as standoffish, and difficult, but her past makes the rough edges understandable and easy to empathize with. The book itself deals with many hurtful subjects causing you to wonder how they can all fit, but they do. Mr. Wendig weaves a tale that draws you through loops and turns, many of which make you want to close your eyes because they are distasteful, until finally it all pulls into a masterful endgame where you find resolution and maybe a little bit of peace.
Atlanta Burns, the young woman, has been through too much for someone her age, but instead of creating a pitiful character she is written into a strong woman, unafraid to do things that others cannot, or will not. Being willing to deal with the rougher sides of life in her town means she has to face the fact she might make herself and those around her targets.
There are not many subjects that cause me to turn away from a book, but the dogfighting in this dealt with one of them. Instead of pushing me away, the manner in which the character and the writer handled it kept me saying “You can get through this.” And I did, and I am glad I did.
Tragedy seems to find this book at every turn and you come out feeling like you have been drug through the dirt with Atlanta. Instead of feeling “justified” in the choices she makes you can see the damage done by them. There is a saying that no good comes without a cost and the story written here is a perfect example of it.
As a new reader of Chuck Wendig’s work let me say that this book has made me ready to read more. His storytelling and perspective make for a well done point of view for bringing an outsider into Atlanta’s darkened hometown. I give this book five fireballs as I really enjoyed it.