Book Reviews

Review: Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard

As a huge fan of She’s Too Pretty to Burn, I knew I had to read Dead End Girls. And I was absolutely surprised how much I adored this one considering my high hopes! It’s queer, secretive, and thrilling. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.

The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?

This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: gender dysphoria, assault, drugging

I don’t even have that many notes for Dead End Girls because the entire time I was reading I was enthralled. I loved the sense of planning, the secretive glances, and the thrilling action. Seriously. If you love a good YA contemporary thriller with theft and plenty of running – you have to read Dead End Girls. The action alone will keep you unable to stop reading. But what I also loved was Maude’s perspective. I loved how she’s so good at planning, at lists, at the dreams of escape. But how one thing, specifically one person, can change it all.

How she really has to reconsider her dreams of the future. She was always set on going somewhere, but never really considered who she’d be when she left. Or who might come along with her? Dead End Girls is ultimately both about the secrets that we don’t know about the people around us, and the ways it’s important to open up. To not be stuck in our isolation. Because of that, the action propels you through and the characters end up keeping you grounded.

I listened to Dead End Girls on audio book which only made the pacing better. I’d find excuses to get in my car and do errands just so I could listen. Natalie Naudus is an auto-buy narrator. I’ll listen to anything she reads at this point and Dead End Girls is no exception. Both Natalie and Taylor Meskimen did an amazing job at infusing these characters with emotions and fear, doubt and love.

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In Dead End Girls the tension is electric. I needed to keep reading. Sure some things might be a bit over the top – I’m not sure how feasible some of this is – but I seriously didn’t mind and just got swept away. With complex characters, Dead End Girls is a fabulous thriller for anyone who loves them and also wants some fabulous grounded characters with a queer romance component. Find Dead End Girls on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound,, The Book Depository, Google Play, &


What is your favorite YA thriller?

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