Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (Review)

You wouldn’t understand. It’s a dead girl thing.

Can I sign up somewhere for a hundred more books about fat witchy women? I picked Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson up because I loved the idea of teenage witches and an undead murder mystery, but I also got sisterhood and unashamed fat girl energy and believable teenage characters. I pretty much binged this one, and the twist still got me!

Rating: 4 stars!

Trigger Warnings:

This book is pretty light-hearted and doesn’t contain much more than your usual YA murder mystery, but read with care because there is brief focus on the fact that the girls are believed to have committed group suicide.

Read me for the:

  • Witty feminist writing
  • Necromancy and magic
  • Zombies investigating their own murder
  • Sisterhood & Coven-hood
  • Badass fat Mexican wiccan MC

The plot:

Mila Flores is fat, black and wicca, and she doesn’t care what you think about it. She’s got all she needs in her best friend Riley, in their coven of two. That is until Riley, and popular mean girls June and Dayton, die in a triple suicide pact. Mila doesn’t believe that, can’t believe that. Riley would never kill herself, and she didn’t even know June and Dayton that well, so Mila arms herself with a tube of old lip gloss and an ancient grimoire that Riley must have ordered, and she does the impossible to find the truth. She brings Riley back to life. Unfortunately, Riley comes back with June and Dayton, and unfortunately the three of them don’t remember their murders. But they do have unfinished business, a murder to solve and seven days to do it before the girls are dead for good. Or before the killer strikes again.

What did I think?

This is such an easy binge read. I love a YA murder mystery a lot, and this was a really interesting twist on that. Bringing dead girls back so they can solve their own murder? Count me in. Especially when I started hearing great things from other reviewers. It helped that Mila is a highly relatable character. She goes to great efforts to give off a ‘I don’t give a fuck what you think’ vibe, even if she hasn’t completely convinced herself yet, which reminds me of teenage me. If only I’d had a mini-coven and a spooky grimoire to go with it. I also adored the way that she talks about her weight. It’s a little thing, and I don’t know if everyone would notice it, but she makes a point of correcting people when they use soft terms and euphemisms like ‘curvy’ and ‘heavy’. I’m a ‘big girl’ too, and I felt seen when Mila called out her friends, even her closest friends, of using ‘fat’ as a dirty word. Fat doesn’t have to be an insult, and Mila gets it!

Riley and Mila give me the sweetest found family vibes and I love it. They’re sisters by heart, if not by blood, and opening on her best friend’s funeral could be a miserable start to a novel. Instead it’s handled lightly, and Lily Anderson sets the tone for the novel early. Sure, the things that Mila is going through are tragic and traumatic, but she’s going to handle them like a bitchy witch and make Riley proud. It helps that she doesn’t have to focus on her grief, because she’s too busy trying to convince anyone to believe her that her best friend would never kill herself. It doesn’t take long to get onto the campy necromancy part of the novel, where Mila’s first real spell goes a little too well and she accidentally brings back June and Dayton with Riley. This isn’t a novel that focuses intently on the aftermath of grief, though it has some great messages about closure and letting go, the loss aspect is a smaller part of the story. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, this is primarily a supernatural murder mystery and not a contemporary novel about love and loss.

The mystery part of the novel is fairly simple, but the supernatural twists in the novel make it interesting and set it apart from other YA mysteries, and on top of that, I was still surprised by the final reveals and the explanation of the actual circumstances of the three girls’ deaths. It was unpredictable, but not overly complicated, which I personally prefer in YA mystery – sometimes they can get bogged down in getting too complex and lose the prose. Lily Anderson dodges that and Undead Girl Gang ends up a real page-turner. This earned 4 stars from me because it was just so fun to read. It was funny and wild and kept me guessing, and that’s all I wanted from a book with a kicking name like Undead Girl Gang.

Links:

Add it on Goodreads here!

Buy at Waterstones or Amazon (not affiliated) and if you can, please support your local indie booksellers!

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