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Girls Burn Brighter


An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against ...
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Discuss Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao:
Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Created: 02/27/19

Replies: 39

Posted Feb. 27, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2101

Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 245

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

It was a difficult book to read at times. Sexual exploitation and abuse are challenging subjects. But it’s well written and provocative and I fell in love with the girls. I did not care for the ending, however. I wasn’t sure if it was intended to make the reader think or to lead into a sequel. I felt that the author wasn’t sure how to end the book, she just didn’t


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 265

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The book was beautifully written, but so distressing and depressing! Both girls experienced one calamity after another, and though one could appreciate Poornitha's desire to track down her friend and admire her effort to do so (even to the extent of trying to learn English), it was hard to see any possibility of a positive outcome when they were surrounded and controlled by so many evil and uncaring (particularly the men). As Rebajane indicates, the ending is particularly unsatisfying.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 118

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I liked the book quite a lot. While it was a book of hardship and pain, it was also a book of friendship and hope. It kept my attention and made me want to read more. I actually thought the ending was great - so as not to have spoilers - the author can either continue the story or not. The description of the poor in India is very much in keeping with many things I have read, so to me, it sounded authentic.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 265

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

It was such a dark story but I couldn't put it down. The girls had such terrible events in their lives yet they each held this ray of sunshine which was their past friendship. They each had an inner strength which carried them through. I did like the book although the ending was a let down. I wanted to know more!


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 271

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Totally agree with Marcia S. I was so impressed by the author's skill at keeping the story authentic. It will hopefully open our eyes to what is currently happening with young women and children around the world.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
johnw

Join Date: 03/11/12

Posts: 69

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I loved it!!!! Although difficult emotionally to read and acknowledge the tragic events that are portrayed in the book happen all to frequently, it was an amazing read that I had a hard time putting the book down. It's realistic and doesn't soften the lives many young girls face in India or other parts of the world. What I loved is the author's description of the two girls beautiful friendship. The writing is stunning and I enjoyed the vivid description of the landscapes and heart-wrenching events the girls faced. The symbolism of fire that represented strength and resilience was appropriate for their friendship.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 373

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The book was beautifully written. The descriptions of the setting were pure poetry. It is, however, a difficult book to read. I had to put it down several times. While I needed to put it down, I also needed to pick it up because I deeply cared about the two young girls. I too, was surprised at the ending, wanting to know more. I guess it will all depend on our imaginations or on Mohan.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jamiek

Join Date: 11/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I may be in the minority, but I thought there was not enough gain for the amount of pain depicted. I cared a lot for the two girls and appreciated their intense hope and friendship, but there were so many things happening to them that I became desensitized and just wanted to know how it ended. Then when I came to the end, I was disappointed and felt as if the author wasn't sure how to end it. Of course, there is something to be said for leaving it up to our imaginations.


Posted Mar. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tswaine

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 55

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book! The two girls had such a special friendship. I cared about both of them and the strength they had that kept them going. I couldn't put it down! I too was disappointed in the ending as I wanted the story to continue.


Posted Mar. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Muse48

Join Date: 12/27/18

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The story is captivating but seems "unfinished" in so many ways. Someone takes the last remnant of the sari - who? What is the reason? What is the consequence? Mohan's character is not fully developed. I agree that it seems to lead to a sequel and I do not care to be left deliberately unfulfilled. Perhaps I am missing the point.


Posted Mar. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggya

Join Date: 06/03/15

Posts: 33

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I think she is a talented writer who I hope will give us another book soon. Although the subject matter is extremely brutal and sickening, Shobha Rao is a gifted wordsmith. She expresses ideas with an economy of language that borders on poetry. Concerning the ending, although it was very abrupt, it left me satisfied that indeed the girls were finally together. Every horror experienced was redeemed.


Posted Mar. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I have read a lot of reviews criticizing the book for its over the top scenes of violence and exploitation. I am not one of those critics. Before reading, I admit that I had absolutely no idea the level of horrific abuse some are capable of inflicting upon others. I had an unrealistic picture. Abuse looks better when it is talked about while wearing a fancy, red carpet dress and coming from a woman who is clean, beautiful, and rich. How easy it is to hide it behind a catchy hashtag--Abuse, exploitation, and trafficking should not just be "trending". Maybe by showing all those of us just watching the fancy speeches or scrolling by on social media the depth of horrors experienced by women all over the world AND including the United States (a large portion of this story took place in Seattle after all), readers will be moved to act, becoming advocates and allies.

In between the ugly and painful glimpses of the realities of life for poor, uneducated women in India, the author wove a tender, poetic story of two best friends who defied the life that was handed them.


Posted Mar. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiap

Join Date: 07/27/17

Posts: 49

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I wanted to like it more than I did. It is a hard story to describe to other people. Some of the scenes are embarrassing. When I described the story to my husband, he showed his disgust over such horrible topics. That reaction of course influenced me. I know, you are saying, he is a man, of course he would react that way. But since I love and admire my husband, I did not disagree with him.

I have been looking at my answers to all the questions in comparison to others and I can see that I have a negative reaction to this book. I AM glad I read it and will recommend it to others that I think can stand this type of story. It is VERY well written and the story does flow seamlessly between the two narrators.

I ended giving it a 4 star and will submit a review here on BookBrowse.


Posted Mar. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 93

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I liked thebook very much. I think we as Westerners need this book and others like it to fully recognize poverty on a worldwide scale. Women have been suppressed in all cultures, but changes in the 20th century have made us forget that there is still significant suppression that continues. This book shows us reality including in this country.


Posted Mar. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurag

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I'm more inclined to agree with Jamiek than most people on this thread. I found this book incredibly brutal and nearly exercised my option to opt out of it but kept hoping it would change. Even the end that started to look hopeful was left unfinished. The writer is very talented but I too found a lot of holes in this story that left me troubled and unsatisfied.


Posted Mar. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alisonf

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 96

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I agree with jamiek about becoming desensitized to all the horror they faced but it was beautifully written and an important story to be told. I would recommend it but it is not for everyone considering the subject.


Posted Mar. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 48

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I thought it was an important book because it did force us to see more clearly the depths of the violence again women in places like India. There are still many places where women are treated like chattel and can be raped, maimed or killed with impunity. Was it an uncomfortable read at times? Absolutely. That does not mean that it should be avoided. We have some responsibility in acknowledging the horrors of being born female in some places in this world and can only work for change by confronting these terrible truths.


Posted Mar. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 45

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I loved the book! I loved and hated the story! I loved the girls and Mohan. I hated all the others. I hated what life, and in particular their circumstances, did to them. It is a powerful story. The writing exquisite, rich and deep. I was drawn into the story and experienced all types of emotions while reading...from shock, horror, anger, pain and sadness... to hope.


Posted Mar. 10, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleyb

Join Date: 03/27/13

Posts: 10

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I thought the book was very well written and the story, while not a cheery one, was unique. I was drawn in by the girls' relationship and kept interested as they each went through their series of hardships. I was not sure what happened at the end. Was it a wish on Savitha's part? On Poornima's? Did it really happen? I've read many books set in India and America about Indian culture, but most of the central characters have been men. I appreciate that this book centered on women's experiences.


Posted Mar. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Joni

Join Date: 11/04/17

Posts: 13

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I loved this well-written story even though it did deal with tough subject matters. I loved the friendship between the girls. I love reading about other cultures and author did a great job making the setting come to life. The author kept my interest throughout the book. I would recommend this book to those that can handle reading about this type of abuse. 4 stars for me!!


Posted Mar. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Brendaraye

Join Date: 01/19/15

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I absolutely loved this book. I agree with those that commented about how beautifully it was written; the descriptions of place, people and encounters were lyrical, poetic in some places, that this tale was spellbinding and hard to put down. Much of the story was difficult to read, painful even, in terms of the outlook that's forecast for girls in India, dependent on the class, caste and color they are born with. I loved the ending as well...left me with hope for the girls and left me wanting to know more about the life of girls and women in India in general, today and historically--and wondering how universal is this story of what lies ahead for many born female in India today.


Posted Mar. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
charleneds

Join Date: 03/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

This book captivated me as soon as I started reading it. I loved both characters and looked forward to reading it at night. At times it was painful and hard to read about what was occurring in their lives and I would have to put it down and regroup. But I loved this book and will recommend it to everyone. I'm passing it along to my sister. Her son is marrying a woman whose family is from India and this book had a lot of insight into that society. It was actually quite timely because in the middle of reading the book the sex trafficking scandal broke and was in all the papers and in the news every night.


Posted Mar. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
charleneds

Join Date: 03/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

As an addendum, I want to add that I did like the ending. I had to read it several times to make sure it was what I thought. But life is unpredictable and things happen and we have no explanation for why. We call it coincidence, but is it?


Posted Mar. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I like the book and found it to be educational. I feel that in life we need to know the ugly naked truth( most of the times). Without the darkness, how can one value the good times? I am not saying I wish this upon anything. Reading this book makes a person remember what is truly important in life.

I did not like the ending. It was rushed. Some things just did not seem possible. These are the reasons I give this book 3 stars. My personal opinions of things I did not like are not associated with these ratings.


Posted Mar. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennluna

Join Date: 03/12/19

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

This was a difficult book to read. However, I could not put it down. It was written beautifully and I was so invested in the girls lives. As I read, I could not imagine a positive ending. The ending was a little rushed but I think it left the reader with a positive outlook on what what the girls can do in the future, but also a bit of dread as the book does not paint a pretty picture of their lives thus far.


Posted Mar. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I did not see a positive outlook either jennluna. I was hoping regardless.


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
inkdrunnergirl

Join Date: 10/11/18

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I am still reading but overall i am enjoying this book. It is outside of my usual genre


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 57

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book. I agree with others that it was very difficult to read at times. As an American woman, I sometimes forget how terribly women around the world are treated. Not only in India, but even in the U.S. Since I enjoyed the friendship that the girls built and I think it kept them going. Overall, thumbs up!


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 139

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

As a writer the fact that every reader brings their own life experience to everything they read is ever fascinating. That is the glory of discussion groups. An author may strive to deliver a specific message via their story but we are frequently surprised at how readers of disparate backgrounds interpret our words. Sharing these interpretations in a forum is always enlightening to other readers. There is great beauty to be found in this sharing. Because just as we get to put ourselves into the thoughts of fictional characters we get the privilege of putting ourselves into the minds of our fellow readers. I appreciate the candor of posters who feel comfortable expressing themselves here. And I have to admit I’ve learned something from each post.


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritah

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 55

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book and I do believe that this is a subject which we would like to believe happens only in other countries, such as India. Therefore, the movement to the U.S. was important. However, it still may lead some to believe that this is only perpetrated by "outsiders," when it is happening every day in our cities. I, personally, know of one, and maybe two, young girls who have been caught up in this in the past few months. It is almost impossible to uncover. So, from that standpoint, I think this is a very pertinent story. However, I found several things implausible in the story. Without being a spoiler, I do not think one can learn bookkeeping from just looking at a few bookkeeping papers, especially when one has a very limited educational background. I also do not think many older couples in the U.S. would offer rides to a stranger on impulse. There were other instances of "too convenient" interactions and these spoiled the book somewhat for me.


Posted Mar. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyg

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 30

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I loved this book! It was a page turner for me. The publisher has made a timely contribution to all women (and men) by sharing the realities of topics infrequently discussed except those who champion the victims and work on their behalf. Hopefully this will spark good discussions between women and men overall.


Posted Mar. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darylb

Join Date: 06/23/13

Posts: 124

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I found myself cringing and not wanting to know what would happen next. It was difficult to finish and if not for First Impressions, may not have finished it. Sex trafficking is not a subject of any other book I have read. A horrifying and hopeless situation. I don’t think it’s a book I would recommend to others. Very depressing.


Posted Mar. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: Overall, what did you think of

I agree with you darylb about this book is very depressing. One of the books I recently finished was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. One of the main characters stating something about an author chooses the writing style and the book does not have to be sad. That stood out to me due to the subject matter in that book.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/299004/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/9780142424179/


Someone else in this discussion mentions about this book should include resources of help at the end. This book can be a trigger for those dealing with mental illness. Depression is one type of mental illness.

https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/depression


There is countless mental health stigma. That does more harm than good with those battling mental illness or multiple mental illnesses.

https://www.nami.org/blogs/nami-blog/october-2017/9-ways-to-fight-mental-health-stigma


It not only about those battling with mental illness, but also the journeys of family and loved ones of those dealing with mental illness. One book club I belong to is about mental illness.Hearing people journeys are always learning experience.

https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/How-To-Love-Someone-With-A-Mental-Illness


This book can be depressing for those without mental illness. Darlyb I would also not recommend this book to certain folks and those that do not like books that go into the abyss with sadness. I should have said in a previous post( forget the exact one) that I would only recommend this book with cautions of the subject matters, possible triggers, and the book is extremely depressing.


Posted Mar. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 189

RE: Overall, what did you think of "Girls Burn Brighter"? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The book is beautifully written and realistic in its description of life for the poor females in India. It reminded me quite a bit of the book THE COLOR OF OUR SKIES. I loved that book.


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