Book Reviews

Review: She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

She’s Too Pretty to Burn is one of those stories I haven’t stopped thinking about. You know those stories that keep you awake at night? That make you read way past your bedtime? That was me and She’s Too Pretty to Burn. Keep reading this book review to find out all the things I loved!


The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.


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

She’s Too Pretty to Burn was an emotional roller coaster. I had completely forgotten that it’s a The Picture of Dorian Gray retelling until I re-read the summary. And then I was even more sold than ever before. Talk aboout a book I want more and more retellings of in my life. This sapphic thriller is infused with subtle tension from the beginning that just crescendos to the end. She’s Too Pretty to Burn is about love, friendship, and art. About obsession and what we are willing to sacrifice for an image.

For an image of ourselves, of someone else, or of the world. It’s a story of manipulation, of toxic relationships, and nightmares. At the same time, it’s a story about love and strength and realizing who we want to be. There are all sorts of emotional lows and highs throughout She’s Too Pretty to Burn. It was easy to fall in love with the high stakes and action. As readers, we can see where it all unravels and starts to fracture, as responsibilities and silences, blackmails and livelihoods are put on the line. But what I ended up also loving are the characters. People who push us into situation after situation and we don’t know how it happened. How someone can expose a piece of ourselves we never saw. And how dangerous it can be to stand too close to someone.

She’s Too Pretty to Burn mixes fear, fun, and adrenaline with danger and lies. The experiences we take for granted and pieces of people we take without knowing. How we can stumble into someone’s life when it’s on the edge of crumbling and how dangerous that moment can be. All it takes is one spark, one danger fueled ride to ignite. We can stand too close to the flames, to the possibilities of the future, to throwing caution to the wind. Feelings that could consume you, burning from the inside out until nothing but ashes remain.

Find She’s Too Pretty to Burn on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite thriller? Bonus points if queer!

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