I have long been a fan of Chuck Wendig in the blogosphere, so when I saw his book on NetGalley, I really wanted to read it. I totally judged it by its cover, and so Atlanta Burns was nothing like I expected. I thought I would be getting an urban fantasy kickass girl-power with some magic. I still got the kickass girl-power main character, but there was no hint of urban fantasy. Instead, we are thrust into a gritty world full of very bad people doing very bad things.
A lot of the reason that I gave Atlanta Burns a comparatively low rating was because I didn’t read it at a good time for me. My dog was very ill when I was reading this book, so reading about other dogs being harmed in the second half was not a good place to put my head. Overall, the whole thing was very triggering. Is it possible to be completely objective when you are reading something that affects you so profoundly emotionally? I don’t think so.
Atlanta Burns doesn’t have much of a plot to it. There is a lot of action and lots of things going on, but the story itself is very segmented and fractured. I also felt like it was more than a touch unrealistic. We are in the southern states, and we have a high school with a gay mafia? Really? I mean, it added to the feeling of the story, but it also made me question a lot of things.
The characters are fairly well written, and Atlanta herself has some growth throughout the book. I liked that she was also flawed and dark, as a lot of female protagonists tend to have the princess complex, where they have nothing wrong with them at all.
I think that Atlanta Burns deals with a lot of subject matter that is important to teens, but because of the gritty nature of the writing and the fact that Chuck Wendig pulls no punches, I would reserve this for older and more mature teens. And up, of course.
I will be on the lookout for more of Chuck Wendig’s work.