“Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.
So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.” (via Goodreads)
Mila and Riley have a friendship forged in the heat of a battle against bullies, specifically June and Dayton. As two of the leaders of the Nouns, a clique of snobby popular girls, Dayton and June made it their personal missions to ruin Riley and Mila for the audacity of being different. Mila because she’s fat, brown, and middle class, Riley because her family runs a funeral home and mortuary. And I don’t mean that the Nouns are guilty of mere run-of-the-mill high school gossip. We’re talking years of full-on bullying. They weren’t just mean: they were cruel, and intentionally so. Riley survived only by embracing her rejection and making it her own. With her low self-esteem, Mila simply latched onto Riley and Riley’s interests and let her bestie take her along for the ride. Riley’s death means more than the loss of her only friend—it means Mila now has to face the world on her own.
For Riley and Mila to be stuck with their tormentors is hell on earth, but for June and Dayton it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a do-over. Anderson puts the work of reparations on the perpetrators rather than the victims. It’s a hard subplot, probably more so for those who were bullied themselves, but a necessary one. I don’t think any teenager will come out of Undead Girl Gang believing they can befriend their bully, but it’s nice to know that you will survive them…
To read the rest of my review, head over to Tor.com.
There is no tombstone for Riley yet. The dirt is slightly hilled and stark brown against the grass that surrounds it. It looks exactly the way fresh graves look in the movies, poised to have an undead hand shoot up through the soil.
Oh God. I hope her hand doesn’t shoot up through the soil.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.