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Summary

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.

Critic reviews

"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)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • 29-10-16

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 02-10-16

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.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam M. Smith
  • 20-05-18

Atlanta Luke-Warm

This book is about a high school girl that was a victim of sexual assault in the past, and now refuses to allow bullies to hurt others, standing up for those that can’t or won’t protect themselves. The story takes a strange path to get to it’s ultimate conclusion, and is lesser for it.

The book also contains an extreme amount of animal cruelty, and again is lesser for it. It turns from a human story to an animal story on a dime, and becomes mired in the world of dog fighting.

The book is very reminiscent of Aric Davis’s Nickel novels, although lacks the wit and feeling of those. There is also a hint of Veronica Mars.

The performance was good, the main character and narrator were both very well voiced, but a some of the male characters weren’t as strong.

Overall the book was just ok. The title for this review was poor.

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  • M.L.L.
  • 08-05-18

Sooo violent. Sooo awful.

This book is about teenagers being beaten, raped, possibly killed by bullies. Often wealthy, popular, powerful bullies. It gets worse and worse. I only got to Chapter 9 but I think murder is imminent. I don't want to see what happens next. This book is an exaggerated worst case scenario. If there is justice and a happy ending coming a ton of horror will be experienced first.
Thanks but no thanks.
Oh also. Atlanta shot her stepfather with a shotgun 6 months ago. The gun is still in the hallway where it happened. Even if the police found the shooting justified why did they leave the weapon there? WTH?

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  • Makean D Miller
  • 10-05-17

Too real at times

I realized that the author is trying to shine a true light on bullying and it's impact on teens and Americans but, the story hits too close to home and I found myself emotional thrown back to my youth. I'm not saying that this was a bad thing, I'm just saying if you've ever Benn bullied at all this book has some triggers in it and to be careful.