You don't mess with Atlanta Burns.
Everyone knows that. And that's kinda how she likes it - until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead - by an apparent suicide - Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: She knows it's her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.
Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face to face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don't deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.
Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?
Revised edition: Previously published as two volumes, Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, this combined edition includes editorial revisions.
©2015 Chuck Wendig (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Quote from A.E. Housman's poem "To an Athlete Dying Young." In Modern British Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920.
"Atlanta Burns is a troubled teenage girl who's scared, angry, and not taking s--t from anybody." (Stephen Blackmoore, author of City of the Lost)
"Atlanta Burns kicks Lisbeth Salander's tattooed a--." (Tom Hunter, director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award)
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"Good teen novel or disgusting garbage? Guess!"
It's disgusting garbage with 11 to 13 year olds being the target audience. I'm amazed that Chuck Wendig can make a living writing because he is really awful at it. I did not finish this book.
"Prose Comic Book for Adults Only"
Atlanta Burns is a high school girl, new in town, and no matter how much she wants to lay low, she can't help but come to the aid of her bullied classmates. With a history of using a shotgun to deal with her problems, she takes on the entire power structure of her rural Pennsylvania town, dealing with a number of nasty problems along the way.
Chuck Wendig has written a crackling book here -- a comic book. But he has written it in the form of a novel. Trying to wrap one's head around this story from a realistic point of view is just not possible. This is an over the top teen wish fulfillment fantasy, laudable in being from a girl's point of view, taking down powerful men whose stock in trade is abuse.
Amazon published Atlanta Burns as a Young Adult novel, but has a bold face warning on its listing that this is meant for mature audiences due to language and violence. This is NOT YA. I would not let my teenage daughter read this. The language and violence is the least of it. The subject matter is potentially disturbing for kids -- extreme bullying, teen suicide, gay bashing, animal abuse, sexual abuse, pedophilia, white supremacy, parental neglect, corrupt cops, etc.
Not that kids need to be sheltered from these issues, but the treatment here is not realistic, it's comic book exaggeration. Adults who are into this genre, read it and enjoy it as I did. But don't give it to your kids expecting them to learn valuable life lessons.
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