The Not So Boring Girls of Sara Taylor – Book Review

A book review by Alan D.D. of the novel Boring Girls by Sara Taylor

One thing is to know that you will like a book, feel it calling you, almost screaming at you, but it’s something completely different to read it and utterly love it. Putting the cover apart, which I still don’t understand that much, everything about Boring Girls, by Sara Taylor, is on its rightful place, working wonderfully to create a total experience.

The story’s simple in general terms: two friends that decide to start a band. Rachel has had a fairly normal life, with a couple times when she wished she was stronger, maybe even scarier, to have the peaceful existence she wants, but putting that aside, nothing in her past gave her a reason to become a killer, that’s until she meets Ferns, who shares her love for violent, heavy metal music.

Boring Girls explores how things start to change for Rachel because of her choices, how the events that followed the formation of her band made her a killer in disguise, and the idea that anyone can become a killer, even a fifteen year old girl from a nice family and small city.

Taylor has an incredible pen. You get into the reading from the first moment, and although it has many ups and downs, more than what I would consider healthy, it manages to keep you hooked, reading chapter by chapter, trying to guess what will happen next and if things will end the way they seem to.

With hard topics as sexism, coming of age, relationships and rape, Boring Girls combines the style of the best YA books with adult narrative, giving some heavy scenes that move the reader and others that seem to have been taken directly from a dream. Bittersweet, but amazing nonetheless.

However, it bothers me that the two main scenes, those that change the direction of Rachel’s life forever, are illegally short. Just a couple of pages for what shook her insides, those moments that made her what she is today, something I could excuse since this is the first and only novel of the author so far, but the style used for the rest of the book seems to tell otherwise.

Each of the social issues presented in this book is treated sensitively and consciously, making it all look real. You will not find anything remotely similar to the power of friendship, the sudden realization that you can do better than those that hurt you, that there’s always a better way. This is real life, with a chaotic twist.

The stages in the life of Rachel are all detailed in her story. Boring Girls is filled with visceral details, and in the right amount. There are some scenes that seem to last for an eternity, making it look like this is an entirely different book, there’s no point in denying it, but they also set the ground for us to understand how much things have changed

Also, since Sara Taylor turns to be the better known vocalist Chibi, from Canadian, darkwave band The Birthday Massacre, there are many insights about what it’s like to be a real music star, how it is to be on a tour, how hard is the beginning and what is music really about: love and passion, as we all known, but hand in hand with hard work and days that could be nightmares.

You can expect a solid point of view from the author on certain matter as well, and she takes the chance with a couple of characters to expose some facts that we don’t see, or don’t want to see, while dreaming. Taylor unfold the real life inside the music industry, and I’m inclined to think that there are many of her own experiences in Boring Girls; makes sense, doesn’t it?

Readers with a dramatic vein, steel nerves and an irremediable masochism will love this book, that’s for sure. Despite the flaws and the unforgivably short ending, Boring Girls gives the all in all, keeping nothing and letting the reader swim calmly to the devastating crash. I can only say a big thank you to ECW Press for sending me a copy of the book. It was worth the wait and even more!

We should keep an eye to see if there’s another book coming from this woman, as I’m sure she still has two or three things to say and more characters to torture, and while we’re at it, there’s also a webseries based on the book being prepared!

Alan D.D.
Writer and Journalist.

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