Girls Burn Brighter

Girls Burn Brighter

Book - 2018
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A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, for readers of Rupi Kaur, about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstances but relentless in their search for one another. Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them. They are poor. They are driven. And they are girls. When Poornima was just a toddler, she was about to fall into a river. Her mother, beside herself, screamed at her father to grab her. But he hesitated: "I was standing there, and I was thinking...she's just a girl. Let her go...That's the thing with girls, isn't it...You think, Push. That's all it would take, Just one little push." After her mother's death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to take care of her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. 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 secure for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend. 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 ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them.--Amazon.
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250074256
Branch Call Number: FICTION Rao Shobha 02/2018
Characteristics: 307 pages ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

2018 JCL Notable Books List: Literary Fiction

JCLJessG Feb 14, 2018

This book packs a punch. You will feel it in your gut, and you will not recover easily. A devastating, worthwhile read, not for the faint of heart. Tread cautiously, and you will be rewarded. It's a wonderfully written book that tells the story of a beautiful friendship, and it is heavy on the vi... Read More »

JCLGreggW Jan 23, 2018

A beautiful and powerful novel about the enduring bonds of friendship even in the most trying of circumstances, Shobha Rao's novel is the sort you push into the hands of total strangers with wild-eyed enthusiasm. In a small Indian village, Poornima strikes up a friendship with Savitha, who works ... Read More »

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Aug 03, 2019

DNF - lack of time to read, didn't appear to be something I'd like.

Jul 30, 2019

kate baer

Jun 30, 2019

I'd love to have been able to latch on to this, a fascinating subject. My poor old brain has problems with unfamiliar names, thus I can't keep the character in place.

Jun 19, 2019

This was a gripping read. I found it hard to put it down but hard to read in one go. I read this book over the last few days (as I couldn't spare more than a few hours per day) and I found myself thinking about the characters in the interim, wondering what lies in store next. As an Indian hailing from Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) and now living in Seattle, I felt strongly connected to the characters and there were times when I felt disturbed and had to put the book away.

Feb 17, 2019

This debut novel by Shobha Rao spares no punches.We are told in gory detail the abuse that women (Barely more than girls) suffer at the hands of men folk.Poornima and Savitha become fast friends and it is this friendship that sustains them. Alas life's vicissitudes separates them and they suffer even more. It is the thought of their friendship that keeps them alive and each looks for the other as they suffer the indignities showered on them in the underworld or even in marriage. Almost unbelievably both of them arrive in Seattle and yet again Poornima starts looking for Savitha. Will they meet? I will not be a spoiler. Believe me it is worth a read.

Feb 14, 2019

This compelling story is one of many that deal with the horrific conditions that thousands of girls/women endure in Mid-eastern countries as well as in India (as this book describes). As always, girls suffer at the hands of the men in these countries. This is, of course, not limited
to these locations; however, it isn't as prevalent.
The friendship between these women is powerful - bonding them through miseries and obstacles that we cannot imagine.
It is a book that is a must-read - moving, electrifying and riveting.

Nov 25, 2018

I enjoyed reading Girls Burn Brighter, specially the first half. I was invested the the friendship that Rao has portrayed between Poornima and Savitha and I was rooting for them throughout the book.

The story is fast paced and never boring, even though at times the author is overindulgent in describing the surroundings and background. The writing style does a good job in utilizing the sense of sight, smell, taste and touch, specially for the parts that are based in India.

With this story Rao has touched upon almost all the social issues faced by women and girls in India and perhaps rest of the world - Poverty, Lack of Education, Female Infanticide, Eve Teasing, Rape, Marital Rape, Dowry, Acid Attacks/ Burn Attacks, Domestic Violence, and Human and Sex Trafficking. There is usually an immediate shock value associated with this theme. But the friendship between the protagonists

Where I was a little bit disappointed was-
1. The series of coincidences in the second half seemed 'movie-like' to me. It was a bit far fetched and seemed rushed unlike the first half which flowed much more naturally.
2. Lack of exploring any male characters- Mohan, or Poornima's husband, or Poornima's father. I wish the book could have delved more into their motivations and their psyche. Spoiler Alert It just seemed so unconvincing to me that Mohan agreed to help Poornima in her search. I agree that he was conflicted, but it was not enough to explain his role in helping her find Savitha.

Overall this was a very good debut novel and I would be looking out for more books from the author.

P.S. - For people who really liked this novel, I would recommend to watch a recent Bollywood movie called "Love Sonia". IMDB Description - Inspired by real life events, Love Sonia is the story of a young girl's journey to rescue her sister from the dangerous world of international sex trafficking.

Sep 27, 2018

When poverty is so overwhelming, girls in India have no say in their future. It’s a book you want to put down because of the tragedy but the girls’ self-determination in overcoming huge obstacles. If nothing else, you’ll be made aware of the horrors of human trafficking.

Michael Colford Jun 21, 2018

Shobha Rao's first full-length novel is devastating and heart-wrenching, illuminating cruelty and male violence almost to the point where it becomes unbearable. Yet somehow, she manages to illuminate the nearly unquenchable spirit of her two protagonists, Poonimna and Savith as they search for freedom and one another across the globe. This is one tough read, but Rao is an exquisite writer and makes the journey worth it.

May 31, 2018

This is a need-to-read story about two Indian girls, Poornima and Savitha, and their fight to survive in an unimaginable economy of living poor, born female, and the ability to survive the mindset of outdated tradition. After reading their plight a reader can never not know the possibility of what may be happening in the background of our own world.

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