Book Review: Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book you picked because the title caught your attention Other PS 2020 reading prompts ...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book you picked because the title caught your attention

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book that passes the Bechdel test, A book with more than 20 letters in its title

TW: Violence, blood, death, misogyny

When I compiled a list of 2020's Must-Read YA titles, you best believe Girls Save the World in This One was on the list. Zombies. Teen girls fighting for feminism. Teen girls fighting actual zombies at a zombie convention. Omg - sign me up immediately.

June has been looking forward to this day for months. Her favorite show, Human Wasteland, is hosting its inaugural convention ZombieCon, and it just happens to be taking place in her tiny hometown. She saved up for this event and can't wait to spend the entire day with her best friends, worry-free, no thoughts of the upcoming SATs or being college-bound. She'll even have the chance to commemorate her day with her biggest celebrity crush. But when a fine line crosses between cosplayer and actual zombies - June and the gang must fight to survive, and save the world. 

Let me start by saying that I love The Walking Dead... well, the older seasons anyways. It's one of the only shows that I started watching when it came on, and watched it every Sunday night when it aired. It's filmed fairly local to me, in a small town called Senoia in Coweta County, close to Atlanta. In GSTWINTO, the setting is Senoybia and the show is Human Wasteland, but I know what was really up. I just envisioned Walker Stalker Con that's in Atlanta each year. So, I had the setting downpat, and I was immediately on board, because it felt so real to me immediately.

I also liked June so much. I also really enjoyed her friends, but being in June's head was so realistic. It's the real types of things we feel as humans - silly thoughts in scary times, vulnerability, insecurities but spurts of confidence. I just felt like June was me, but you know, way more badass than I'll ever be.

The cast of characters in this story is unique and diverse, all with their own flaws and redeeming qualities. I found myself rooting for certain folks while rolling my eyes at others. Not to mention I started (and finished) reading this a few days into COVID-19 getting really scary, so as I was reading I was sucked into my own little fear factory. Not to mention this story was ultimately pretty believable in terms of the outbreak. I will always put my faith into a teenage girl, because they're always bound to know how to save the day.

There's also sweet bits of romance and friendship entwined throughout this story, which made it even more lovable.

But here's what brought my rating from five stars down to four. The entire novel was really strong until the ending. I felt that the ending was really rushed and not at all wrapped up. I had a lot of questions that likely could've been answered in a nice 10-ish page epilogue. I felt dissatisfied and underwhelmed with the ending, and I needed more. It wasn't a bad ending by any means; it just didn't feel complete.

"It's gratifying when something painful looks as bad as it feels. As opposed to, say, heartbreak. Which feels like hell and looks like self-indulgence." - Girls Save the World in This One, Ash Parsons

Overall, I really loved this book. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the setting (so much!). It's a great novel for fans of conventions, zombies, and other geekery. Or it's a great option for readers of other supernatural YA like Undead Girl Gang or These Witches Don't Burn

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

*Thanks so much to the publisher for providing this review copy free in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

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