I liked it.
The main character, Atlanta Burns, has a fresh, honest voice (read: filthy mouth), pondering racism, flipping the essay paper bird at teachers, and becoming a vigilante to the young and bullied.
The story is fast paced, a little heart wrenching, and a lot violent.
The world is visceral with sounds and scents, but I was pulled out in few places:
At times I felt the masculine handwriting in the female point of view: not in the actions or emotions of the (seventeen-year-old?) girl, but in the parts where the violence is focused on breasts. I got the feeling that the author was trying to substitute a boy’s testicular aggression with boobs, and it didn’t ring true for me.
Perhaps I am just too protective of my own.
I also got tripped up in the editing once in a while; one bad auto-correct moment -“symbol” instead of “cymbal”- jerked the momentum of a hot action sequence to a dead halt.
What does ring clear and loud is the absolute strength of identity that teenagers have, and the reality that the world they live in sucks. Atlanta Burns has her own mind and a hard ego, and she acts on it. She controls the relationship with her mother; no punches pulled there. We watch her explore drug use without the ubiquitous lesson-teaching crash-and-burn.
I know a sh’load of kids who would enjoy reading a kick-ass heroine in a life that isn’t Glee and roses.