Title: Undead Girl Gang
Author: Lily Anderson
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Length: 305 pages
Publish Date: May 8, 2018
Death, Believed Suicides, Potential Murders,
Gore, Swearing, Bullying, Racism
Fat, Mexican, Black, Asian
Thank you so much to Brittany @ Brittany the Book Guru for buddy reading this with me! We blew through this so quickly, and this was such a great break from all the adult fantasy I’ve been trying to read. So, thank you to her for being an amazing reading partner and all around friend.
Mila Flores (she does NOT go by her full first name Camila) is fat, Mexican, and a witch. She learned how to be a witch from her best friend Riley, who she believes was murdered because there’s just no way that she committed suicide. There’s just no way. Especially after two of the most popular girls in school – June and Dayton – apparently hung themselves in the local park just a week before. Mila basically goes into shock after Riley is dead, and she uses whatever powers she thinks she has to figure out who the murderer in Cross Creek is.
Right, so Mila doesn’t believe that Riley killed herself. Does some magic to bring Riley back to life, only she also brings back June and Dayton somehow, and thus creates the Undead Girl Gang. Also, since they are only “alive” for seven days, they don’t have much time to solve the mystery of who killed them all. Since they all came back, they all must have been murdered based on the way the spell was worded.
Also, Mila is going through some PTSD honestly, and it makes sense. She may or may not be trying to not act on her feelings for Riley’s brother Xander, who she’s had a crush on for years, especially since his sister just died.
Being fat and proud is always great. Sure, there were times where Mila was worried about her weight being an issue in the Yarrow House – which is an abandoned house that’s already caving in so I understand the concern – but she doesn’t let her weight get in the way of anything. She doesn’t wish she was skinny. She doesn’t wish she was white even though she’s in a predominantly white town. She’s proud to be fat, and she’s proud to be Mexican. That takes some strength that I wish I had.
I also love how despite how they were alive, these four girls ended up developing a great friendship that was so sweet. I’m so glad that not only Riley and Mila were able to be friends and accept each other for how they are, but eventually June and Dayton were included in that group. It just sucked that they were only back for seven days, but what’s dead should stay dead.
The girl on girl hate that happens in this novel. I get that it ends up going away by the time the end of the novel comes around but the fact that it happened in the first place breaks my heart. The reason why Riley only had one friend when she was alive – Mila, and only when Mila moved to Cross Creek back in middle school or something – was because Dayton and June constantly teased and bullied her because her family owns the local funeral home. It’s such a stupid reason, and this is the whole “kids are cruel” thing or whatever, but it made Riley so isolated and alone, and probably depressed. And then when they actually got to know each other and became friends? That’s what makes it even worse because none of this would have happened if they had just gotten to know each other before the bullying happened.
And I get that Mila is hurting, but why does she have to push away the efforts of Aniyah – the only fat black girl in Cross Creek really – because of it? Mila can be pretty vicious to Aniyah, and I think that girl really only wanted to be friends with her since they could both relate to being different in a sea of white. I get it.
That part spoke to my soul honestly. I honestly thought that June was part Korean or something because of her hyphenated last name Park, but I was clearly wrong. She really did make Mila, Riley, and Aniyah feel bad about themselves because they weren’t considered “normal”, saying it’s because they were Wicca but let’s be real.
I liked it. I hated the reveal of the killer only because I was not prepared for who it was. But for a standalone, it was not bad. I think some people would enjoy this one, especially if they need a quick read that isn’t too scary but also gives you some fun sarcastic vibes.