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Boring Girls

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Rachel feels like she doesn’t fit in — until she finds heavy metal and meets Fern, a kindred spirit. The two form their own band, but the metal scene turns out to be no different than the misogynist world they want to change. Violent encounters escalate, and the friends decide there’s only one way forward . . .

A bloodstained journey into the dark heart of the music industry, Boring Girls traces Rachel’s deadly coming-of-age, Fern at her side — as the madness deepens, their band’s success heightens, and their taste for revenge grows ravenous.

392 pages, Paperback

First published April 14, 2015

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About the author

Sara Taylor

1 book94 followers
Sara Taylor sings and writes songs for the Billboard-charting band The Birthday Massacre. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her Shetland sheepdog.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 192 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 11, 2015
School's out now. It's time to go.
Scarlet blood on ivory snow.

When I was about thirteen and in school, this girl said to me in a voice dripping with sarcasm "Nice shoes. Did you get them from Aldi*?" Evidently implying that my shoes were cheap and tacky. Me being the socially clueless specimen I was back then, was totally confused. My shoes weren't even cheap; they were similar to the kind of shoes every other girl was wearing. I honestly thought this girl was mistaken so I tried to explain "Er, do you mean you think they're cheap? Um, no, they're from River Island." The girl looked at me like she'd just scraped me off her shoe and walked off with her friends, all of them rolling their eyes. They probably muttered something like "weirdo" as they walked away. I forget.

Later I understood my error - this conversation had never been about my shoes, it was a power struggle and I had lost. I felt humiliated that I hadn't got it. That I hadn't ignored her, or laughed in her face, or cleverly insulted her back.

This book is about a girl called Rachel who faces the humiliation of losing one power struggle after another. She desperately wants to prove herself but just ends up giving those against her the material they need to look down on her even more. She gradually lets her humiliation and pain turn into hate, rage and eventually revenge.

It's a deeply unsettling novel because it stems from places and emotions many of us will recognise. It takes those familiar situations that inspired embarrassment, frustration and anger... and it gets darker and darker. Rachel is so many things. I felt sympathy for her, I hated her behaviour, I was disgusted by her, I wanted her to get where she needed to be, I wanted her to fail. Despite the title, the one thing Rachel isn't is boring.

This book is a unique blend of Metal music, obsessive female friendships and mass murder. It stands on its own as a compelling story but it also fits in with a new breed of novels that do a twisted, sometimes feminist take on conventional thrillers. Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Black Iris are some more that come to mind, and I find myself liking this little sub-genre very much. These are psychological thrillers that are almost more suited to the Contemporary genre - telling the tale of these women's lives, thoughts, desires, insecurities and the madness lurking under the surface. Far more unsettling than the traditional thrillers, in my opinion.

From Rachel's humiliating experience in school, to a guy she liked harshly rejecting her, to the sexist male musicians in the Metal world, we go on this journey with her. She's twisted as fuck, totally unlikable, and yet... the psychological insight we get evokes sympathy for her. Love her or hate her, she's a fascinating character. Being inside her mind makes it hard to put this book down.

I hope Ms Taylor writes more nasty goodness soon.

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Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
September 16, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Everyone else liked this. Seriously? Is this a prank? Did I read the same book you did???? I want to exchange this one for the one you all read, ‘cause my version was a real pile of shit.

Obviously I’m taking the road less traveled and posting an unpopular opinion. Consider yourselves warned . . .

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“I thought you were sick of boring girls.”

I am. Good lord believe me, I am! Let me just wrap this bitch up real quick and I’ll never speak of them again. Here goes. Boring Girls is the story of Rachel, a teenaged girl trying to discover/express herself via clothing/music/make-up/hairstyle/etc. who always felt alone until she met fellow outsider, Fern. (Now is the time where I need to borrow some of your eyeballs, ‘cause after the deadly duo began their friendship I rolled mine so many times they’re stuck in the back of my head and it’s damn hard to type this review when I can’t see.)

Okay, so the girls meet, they bond in the solidarity of their lonerishness, etc. and since they both like to listen to heavy metal music, they figure they should probably play metal music and decide to form a band (*eye roll*). Said band is filled with kids who have never really played before, but of course are immediately amazeballs (*eye roll*) and definitely are awesome like this . . .

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and not like this . . .

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And even though Rachel has been absolutely cursed (*eye roll*) with parents who dared to give a shit . . .

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she somehow always manages to convince them to let her do whatever she wants - even though she’s only 15 years old and the stuff she wants to do isn’t always safe (*eye roll*). Which leads us to the superbadawful and finally at the SIXTY-SIX FUCKING PERCENT point we get to the damn moment that will be the catalyst for the epic “revenge story” promised (*eye roll*). More awesome stuff happens - like being asked to go on tour, because that’s generally how things work for girls who want to pull the stabby-stabby on their perpetrators a bunch of nobodies who form a band in a podunk town – they conveniently get offered things like “gigs” and tours and record contracts without really working for them (*eye roll*).

I should’ve known when I scrolled by a couple of comparisons to another real piece of crap that was just released that this probably wasn’t going to be the book for me. However, I already had the ARC so it was a done deal that I would have to read it. I hated everything about this story. The entire thing seemed so contrived. From the horribly forced dialogue and situation set-ups, to the non-stop detailing of EVERY. SINGLE. MUNDANE. ITEM. – until the superbadawful . . .

“I can’t get into what happened after he put his hand over my mouth. I really can’t.”

OF COURSE YOU CAN’T (*eye roll*).

I’m sure all of the “feminists” out there are going to just rave about all of the “girl power” that is supposedly coming out of this story . . .

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Here’s the problem: When said girl power type of vibe is coming from a female lead who I wanted to punch in the face, it doesn’t work out. She was completely delusional – and not in a good way like the sociopathic unreliable narrators I love to hate hate to love. It is a continual theme in this novel that Rachel is being dismissed/treated poorly in life the metal industry due to the fact that she is a woman.

“If more people treated assholes like assholes, then everyone could be a hero too.”

^^^That would be great, if she wasn't a total asshole.

Dear Girls With Personalities Like Rachel: You’re not always treated wrong just because you’re a woman. Sometimes it’s because YOU’RE A HUGE FLAMING ASSHOLE AND NO ONE LIKES YOU. Everyone would feel the same even if you had a penis . . .

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To top everything off, this book is another that claims to be soooooo “dark.” That only works if you’ve only read sunshine and rainbows and unicorn farts before this. It’s not dark. It’s angsty and whiny and blech. It presents the most ridiculous messages. Things like “it’s totes cool to kill some dudes who raped you rather than ever attempting to go to the cops/a hospital, but smoking is gross and you shouldn’t do it.” Is this real life???? And people liked this? No. Just no.

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Profile Image for Theresa.
232 reviews142 followers
May 4, 2017
"Boring Girls" by Sara Taylor is a very bizarre novel. The protagonist, Rachel is an angry little wallflower who finds solace in heavy metal music. She meets a new friend, Fern, who is also a lover of heavy metal, and the socially awkward twosome form a band of their very own. This is a part coming-of-age part revenge thriller novel. About halfway through, Rachel and Fern go through a traumatizing, life-changing event. The girls make a pact to seek revenge against their enemies. I liked the premise of "Boring Girls" but I had issues with the writing. Taylor's prose is very clunky and juvenile. I almost gave up reading this book at one point because the story/pacing is extremely draggy. I was also put off by some of the crazy things Rachel does and says towards people she feels are out to get her. Rachel's common sense was very disturbing. I had a hard time feeling empathy for her. Fern felt like a shell of a person. I had no idea who she was, personality-wise. She was an underdeveloped character throughout. Parts of "Boring Girls" were gross, gruesome, and reeked of campiness. Not for the faint of heart. The ending was rushed and left me wanting more. The plot is what kept me interested, but the writing and pacing issues is what kept me from enjoying it more. It's a mixed bag for me.
Profile Image for Mauoijenn.
1,127 reviews114 followers
January 22, 2015
*NetGalley book review*

You know when your reading along and then you look to your side or up from your book thinking "Did I just read that correctly?" Only to reread it and yep, you read it right the first time and get all shocked or enraged. Well I had many moments like this while reading this book. I could personally see a lot of myself in the Rachel character. I like music, I'm morbid and wanted to be in a band. But some bad things happen to Rachel and her friend Fern. Very bad. All in all I was really impressed. Excellent book. Outstanding writing.
Profile Image for Drew.
450 reviews501 followers
August 3, 2017
“Fern and I could not forgive. And the reason we murdered these people was very simple.

It was for revenge.”

4 1/2 stars

Well, this is incredibly awkward. This is the coming of age story of a psychopath, and I thought it was really, really good.

The main character, Rachel, is completely nuts. She gets excited imagining inflicting horrible violence on people and fantasizes about blood.

It all started when Rachel was twelve and came across a gory picture in her mom's art book. The picture showed two women decapitating a general. Instead of being repulsed by the grotesque image, Rachel is intrigued. From then on she makes it a priority to always stand up for women and take down those who oppose her.

“In my head I challenged every one of them, daring them to mess with me.”

Rachel was so horrible, and yet she was a completely fascinating character. Being inside her mind and seeing all her gory, ugly thoughts laid out was awful, but at the same time it was so interesting to watch her thoughts take action and understand her view of other people. For instance, she thinks most people in the world are either jerks or completely stupid, and there are very few genuinely clever minds out there (like hers).

In high school, Rachel has no friends, but when she suddenly gets into heavy metal music it quickly takes over her life. She even starts her own band and begins to get popular, and she grows quite close with her bandmates. As far as she's concerned, life couldn't get better. Then a terrible incident occurs to Rachel and her friend Fern, and the two girls start plotting cold, ruthless revenge.

This was a strange book, because it was a thrilling page turner, but it didn't quite fit into the classic "mystery thriller" genre. It's about Rachel's life, and messed up as it is, at times she's just an ordinary teenager arguing with her parents, crushing on a boy, or trying to find a job. Boring Girls is an unusual cross between a thriller and a contemporary novel, which I think fits into the unnamable category for the similarly written book The Walls Around Us. One thing I know for certain: it's extremely psychological.

“Not just anyone can become a killer. That’s what they want to think.”

I liked that this was sort of a cross between the YA and adult genres, too. I definitely wouldn't call it a YA book, but I think readers of much darker YA could easily fall into the storyline. It wasn't a complicated, overly descriptive novel like some adult books can be, and then of course there's the fact that the main character is a teenager.

Boring Girls doesn't quite fit into any category, it takes on a bold subject and isn't afraid to explore it thoroughly, it's dark, it's incredibly violent and disturbing, and yet it held my attention the entire time. I'd like to blame this on the fact that it was so well-written. Sara Taylor has a fast-paced, gritty style that I quickly came to love, and she succeeded in creating one crazy awesome debut book.
Profile Image for Heather ~*dread mushrooms*~.
Author 19 books488 followers
April 26, 2015
You wouldn't think so, from the description, but this book was kind of boring.

The writing lacked style and energy, rendering intense scenes dull. Rachel was one of the most annoying, arrogant, and delusional main characters I've ever read, so much so that I couldn't feel any sympathy for her, even after something bad happened to her. Sympathy would have been crucial, because it would have made the ending all the more dramatic. I did start to feel for her a little toward the end, but by then it was too little too late.

I never got a sense that she and Fern were all that close as friends. Sure, Rachel told me they were, and sure, they murdered people together, but what does that prove? It didn't feel real. Fern was a backdrop character with no substance, like most of the side characters, come to think of it.

You know from the beginning that Rachel and Fern are going to murder people, but the climactic scene doesn't happen until literally the last ten pages. And it's over in a snap. So the whole book was regular, albeit music-related, coming-of-age stuff, and then a brief ending tacked on. It was like the author was reaching her word count limit and then suddenly remembered she was supposed to kill off some characters. The bloody journey we were promised wasn't all that shocking. Also, even though Rachel and Fern have a horrible experience, I still have no idea why they'd resort to murder.

Less than meh.
Profile Image for Kristi.
3 reviews4 followers
February 5, 2015
One of those books that you begin to read thinking and feeling one way, and by the end of it, you have a completely different wave of emotion and thought.

The main character is unrecognizable by final page, and the transformation is surreal. I felt a surge of hatred for several characters in the book, and found that I both loved and hated Rachel.
She was a girl I once was, she was a girl I could have been friends with, and she was the girl I didn't like all at once.

Truthfully, this isn’t a book that everyone will love. It has some heavy, dark and trigger hitting subject matter. The synopsis revealed that there is murder, but I was taken aback by just how descriptive and detailed and the brutality that unfolded. There are other bad things that happen, really bad things.

That said, for people who enjoy a dark and messed up book, filled with flawed characters and horrible events that only the dark parts of your imagination can muster up, this is one of the best reads you will find. Every page enveloped me. Rachel’s drastic transformation from being the likable, relatable young girl dealing with bullies, misogyny, and feeling like an outcast, to unleashing the sinister and monstrous side of her as revenge consumed her. Fern’s disintegration into madness. Even reading the line that gave the book it’s title sent chills down my spine. Every page, right until the tragic, horrifying and perfect end.

Like what everyone else has said, it's extremely dark and messed up. It's good though. Very good.

Highly recommended.

Profile Image for ily .
455 reviews634 followers
October 3, 2015
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Me too,” I replied, and swung the axe as hard as I could.
Balthazar’s head flew into the air. And then everything went insane.

I find myself laughing at those lines. Seriously. It is a bit odd, but I have to admit that the ending - Rachel and Fern finally getting their revenge - was one of the funniest thing I've read in a long time, and it made me really happy. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy those moments of hatred and release and excitement and fear and chaos. You would probably think I'm a bit crazy for saying it, but I don't blame these girls for what they did. This book got such a raw reaction from me, and that was my favorite part of reading it.

La sinopsis me dejó pensando que Boring Girls sería la típica historia sobre chicas abusivas y víctimas del bullying. En parte lo fue, porque al comienzo de la historia vemos cómo Rachel es etiquetada como la chica rara de la escuela, lo cual la lleva a conocer el heavy metal y a entrar en el mundo de la música. Sin embargo, este libro es más que sólo abuso, porque el encuentro con las típicas chicas malas de la secundaria sólo enfurece más a Rachel, y se intensifica cuando descubre que hay más assholes en el mundo real. El sexismo y slut-shaming en la industria musical de la que formaban parte Fern y Rachel provocó que ellas quisieran probar que dos chicas en una banda podían llegar al éxito. En Boring Girls dos amigas intentan cambiar el mundo a su alrededor y, con cada piedra que se encuentran en el camino, su pasión por la música se torna en ira y venganza y otros sentimientos negativos que terminan convirtiéndolas en asesinas.

“I thought you were sick of boring girls.”

La escritura no fue el punto fuerte, lo cual es un pena porque una prosa diferente pudo haber elevado el nivel del libro. El ritmo es bastante rápido tho. Ese primer capítulo me enganchó y rápidamente terminé la mitad del libro. Sin embargo, una cuantas páginas menos no hubieran hecho daño ya que una parte del libro se sintió débil, aunque el final fue por lejos lo mejor. Esa es la forma de terminar un libro.

La inclusión del heavy metal cambió mi perspectiva sobre ese género musical. Si yo llegara a casa con música como esa, mis padre probablemente me mandaría a una escuela para monjas o algo parecido. Yo la veía como música escandalosa, ruidosa, ¿satánica? Así la describiría mi madre. Mientras leía el libro me mantenía escuchando Here Comes the Sun. Esa fue la peor canción que pude haber combinado con una lectura como esta. Boring Girls no es nada parecido a esa canción. Su música es dark y negativa, con pasajes de ira e incluso muerte. Aunque no es nada de lo que suelo escuchar, me gustó mucho que mostrara un lado más oscuro y crudo y sangriento.

No one’s going to hear you if you
scream and shout
Your blood is on my fist and my
teeth are bared
This is what you get for trying to
make me scared

Debí haber odiado a rachel. Debí haberme sentido asqueada por un personaje así. Debí haberla encontrado desagradable. Pero no pude. Fue un personaje pesimista, twisted como pocos en el género, pero agradable de alguna manera. Definitivamente estaré al pendiente de lo próximo de esta autor.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Richelle.
214 reviews4 followers
August 16, 2015
This was one of those situations where the book chose me.. I seen it on the new release wall.. it had just come in that day.. I picked
it up read the back and was immediately sold.. I had no idea when I was going to be able to fit it into the ever growing "to-read" pile but am
I ever glad I did! this was a very unique experience .. I will definitely be reading this one again! if I can ever get it out of my head long enough to forget the details.. so that reading it again would be possible! lol

This is one of the best books I have ever read! it was written so beautifully! amazing Debut novel from the amazing Sara Taylor! I'm
still struggling as to why I loved this book so much.
The story follows Rachel through her awful experience at high school.. from bullying to self esteem and making friends. Her home
life and her personal struggles. We follow her as she meets her future band mates.. and then her/their not so easy rise to stardom! We hear about her hopes, dreams and passions.. Their first show..and What it's like to go on tour.. Rachel is a very complex but extremely interesting character! I really enjoyed getting to know her.. I feel like I know her personally.. and have come to care about her.. that's how brilliant the writing is! We see her achieve some of her dreams..
to then have them crash and burn right in front of her ... this book is compelling as hell! so intriguing ..! I found it empowering! Rachel and Fern are 2 of the very few girls in heavy metal
bands.. and they work real hard to change people's minds ! I'm proud of what they over came and how many people they proved wrong by just being them.. they didn't change themselves to become Metal.. that's just who they were !
amazing plot! flawlessly executed!
I really hope there will be a book 2!
the ending left the door open for there to possibly be more books! the ending actually left me with questions... what happened next? who was affected? did anyone die? what happened after the concert?

Sara Taylor I love your 1st book! please
make *boring girls part 2!! I can't wait for more books from one of my *New favourite authors !!
October 14, 2015
One of the few books that I've read this year that I literally could NOT put down. Boring Girls could've been five stars but the ending was rushed. Still, when most fiction books dealing with rock stars are male-centric, it's nice to read about young women who rock, especially women in metal.

Sarah Taylor gets even bigger props because one of the members of the fictional band is a Black guy with dreds. Given all the whitewashing and the notion that Black people aren't supposed to like metal (I call bullshit on that), it was cool to see such a character naturally integrated into the metal scene.

Okay, did I like Rachel? Not really. And you know what, that's okay. There's this sexist notion that every heroine has to be squeaky clean likeable. Rachel had her moments where she could be an utter bitch, but her behavior was understandable. The classic loner with great, if overprotective, parents. In retrospect the reason Rachel fascinated me had less to do with her and more to do with how we view young women who make the choice to not fit in. To rebel. I was absolutely pissed at how Rachel's writings, though dark, were dismissed by a teacher because while they were good, they didn't fit the idea of what "nice girls" should be interested in.

Profile Image for Erin.
335 reviews
April 20, 2015
An original and deeply disturbing read. My choice of shelves seems woefully inaccurate because this book is in a category all its own. It was fast paced, engaging, and inspired deep emotions of pity, disgust, and horror, and, most difficult of all, empathy. It really is a mind-fuck kinda book and I felt like I was on the downward journey along with Rachel. I also felt strangely anti - social while reading this. It is a book that does not stay contained within its pages but seeps into the real world. Disturbing, original, and very impressive debut novel.
Profile Image for Chrissy♥Dev .
240 reviews29 followers
July 28, 2015
Best book ive read all year!!
Could not put it down (except when i had work) but amazing.
Its crazy how Rachel was telling her story from a jail cell from the start to the very end her and Ferns plan.
So entertaining and incredible bold, shocking and twisted plot. If i could give this more than 5 stars i would.
I can't wait for what Sara Taylor has in store for readers!
The coolest part is we are from the same city(BONUS!!)

Profile Image for Emir Ibañez.
Author 1 book645 followers
June 9, 2018
Una novela con personajes muy reales a los que les pasan cosas poco creíbles.

El comienzo de este libro es la gloria:

“Fern and I could not forgive. And the reason we murdered these people was very simple. It was for revenge.”

Está muy bien escrito y presenta un misterio que te deja involuntariamente enganchado a la historia y presenta un personaje que a todas luces va a ser bastante complejo, por ende para nada aburrido, paradoja del nombre de la novela.

Esta historia va sobre Rachel, una adolescente que siente que no encaja de ninguna manera en ningún aspecto social tanto en la secundaria como afuera... hasta que descubre al heavy metal y a Fern, que se convertirá en su mejor amiga. Ambas formarán una banda pero descubrirán que el ambiente metalero no es distinto al mundo misógino que tanto tratan de combatir. Los encuentros violentos suceden y ambas deciden que sólo hay una manera de vengarse...

La primera mitad de esta novela me fascinó. La voz de la protagonista es llevadera, tiene una filosofía de vida con la que pude sentirme bastante identificado, aunque había momentos en que no entendías qué es lo que le pasaba. Por momentos era una adolescente con pensamientos maduros, pero luego era una niña con rabietas de "nadie me entiende" y "mis padres son lo peor"... pero ¿acaso no éramos así en nuestra adolescencia?

El ritmo de la novela decae cuando Rachel y Fern forman su propia banda de heavy metal. A partir de ahí, si bien el interés por la historia no decae, hay muchos aspectos que hacen que la historia pierda la credibilidad que venía construyéndose. Es una suceción de hechos y coincidencias necesarias para la trama que no se sintieron para nada reales. De la nada misma se convierten en famosos y se van de gira por Europa, encuentran a sus artistas favoritos tomando un café, los padres que tanto la protegían de la nada se vuelven permisivos, la personalidad de Rachel sigue siendo la misma pero a la vez desagradable sin motivo alguno; convirtiéndose en lo mismo que critica... todo muy rebuscado.

Me hubiera gustado que haya "un poco más" en el final. Fue muy abrupto, no tuvo un cierre. Estás con la ansiedad al máximo durante todo el libro esperando a que suceda lo del final y... eso es todo. Cero desarrollo. Me quedé con ganas de saber qué pasó DESPUÉS. Pero bue... a esta altura ya no pedía mucho de este libro, sólo que terminara.

Creo que el mensaje que quiere transmitir está bueno: habla mucho sobre el enojo adolescente y sus orígenes, la estigmatización que hay sobre el ambiente de la música "pesada", la misoginia que reside en dichos ámbitos, pero sobre todo trata sobre como esta misoginia condena a las personas abusadas y no a los abusadores. Pero me gusta que cuando este tipo de heroínas quieren defender una postura no sean parte de la mismo problema.
Rachel, querida, si la gente no te respeta o no te quiere en el ambiente del metal, no es porque seas mujer, es porque sos totalmente insufrible! Y eso se aplica a ambos sexos.

Fue una novela con un tópico distinto que no he visto en otras novelas juveniles actuales, unos personajes interesantes al fin y al cabo y con un ritmo constante.

Mi blog
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,954 reviews1,292 followers
June 28, 2015
Picked this up off the New Books shelf at the library and decided to take a chance. As I’ve said before, this is why I love libraries. I have no interest in heavy metal, and the back cover copy is somewhat vague in communicating what this book is about. But what’s the worst that could happen? I don’t like it, and I have to return in a few weeks. Libraries are awesome for letting you take a chance on a book you’re not sure about—and sometimes, as in the case of Boring Girls, you’re pleasantly surprised.

Huuuuuuge trigger warning, though, for rape, and for this review as well.

I’m not sure I can do this book justice, because any attempt to summarize what happens is going to make Boring Girls sound … well, boring. This is a novel that manages to be dark and disturbing but also feel a little clichéd. When Rachel’s parents confront her about her new taste for death metal, she says: “You don’t know the sort of things that I like. You don’t get what I am.” And I couldn’t help but hear that in an incredibly overwrought teen girl voice. It’s like, you did not just write that, did you?

I’d like to give Sara Taylor the benefit of a doubt, however, and mark down such campiness as an intentional counterpoint to what might otherwise be a rather horrific book. I mean, we’re talking about two characters vowing to get famous so they can kill people very publicly in order to get revenge. It’s simultaneously dark and somewhat laughably unrealistic. The tension between these two elements is what kept me reading far past what should have been my bedtime.

At its core, this is a book about double standards—hence the title. Rachel’s parents would love for her to be a boring girl, because boring girls—nice girls, good girls—don’t get into trouble, don’t make trouble, and otherwise live boring, nice, normal lives. When Rachel butts heads with authority figures, it’s over her attempts at expressing herself. She finds solace in metal because its’s a subculture built around the idea of being an outcast, of throwing up a defensive barricade of shocking obscenity to keep the rest of the world out. But even within this world, she keeps running up against that double standard, the gatekeepers who don’t think girls belong in metal or the “assholes” for whom metal is simply another way to indulge their cravings for power, sex, etc.

So Taylor tears down this idea that there is any one perfect refuge from abuse. She sets Rachel up for disappointment—you just know that when she gets the opportunity to meet Balthasar it’s not going to go well. I didn’t quite think that it would go as far as rape. Unlike some other depictions of rape as plot devices, however, Boring Girls treats rape as the serious and devastating experience it is. And I appreciate, in particular, how Taylor shows that there is no one universal reaction to being raped. Fern shuts down, pulls away from the rest of the world, and her band members notice but can’t understand why. Rachel, on the other hand, uses the rape as a way of kindling that ever-present rage that has always seemed to lurk beneath the surface.

What I found really interesting, however, is the role reversal that happens just before the climax. When Fern has the opportunity to confront another rapist, she breaks out from her shell. Suddenly it isn’t Rachel who is proposing murder: Fern is the one leading the charge, and again in the cemetery. As Fern regains her energy and transforms into a somewhat manic, quite frankly scary person, Rachel finds herself less interested in interaction. When they finally have the opportunity to strike against DED, Rachel—the one who proposed the revenge plot in the first place—does not want to go through with it, following Fern more out of friendship and loyalty than a commitment to the revenge they both craved.

Part of me was disappointed, at first, by the ending and the lack of closure we get around Rachel and what happens to her in the aftermath of the murders. That being said, I can appreciate why Taylor might have chosen to go this route. There is a certain fragility to Boring Girls—as I said above, the plot isn’t exactly realistic. This is not a story one should examine closely, in minute detail, in the hopes of making sense of it all. More to the point, one of the hardest things about writing is deciding where the story should end (or begin). Narratives aren’t like real life. In deciding to end the story just after the culmination of Rachel and Fern’s revenge, Taylor foregrounds this as the defining act of the novel.

This act catalyzes the rest of the story. Everything that leads up to it suddenly takes on a new meaning. Even though we know, broadly, what is going to happen, the details and emotions that Rachel relates alter our understanding of everything that went before. I love it when a book does that, when the ending allows you, motivates you, to go back and leaf through previous pages with fresh insight.

Ultimately this is a character study. Taylor shows us how a combination of things Rachel does and things people do to her lead her to this tragic act. Through a rage disguised as justice and a stark, unforgiving sense of clarity, Rachel formulates a plan that she knows she can’t come back from. But she is OK with that. She makes her peace with it—at least intellectually, until the actual visceral moment approaches and she finds Fern has the will where she does not. She makes her peace with it, because DED took away from her the one thing she thought she had made hers: the safety of metal. The rape didn’t just take away her sense of physical autonomy; it shuttered, once and for all, any hope that Rachel could feel welcome or included in this space that was supposed to be marked for outcasts of all stripes. With literally nowhere left to go, Rachel had no reason left to care.

Boring Girls is a novel both bleak and sympathetic. Rachel is a layered character: at times she is as naive as any teenager, and she certainly is as much an asshole as all the other people she applies that label to. This is a story of the rawest of human emotions being put to a purpose dark yet somehow fitting. It is not an uplifting book, but in some ways it is a rewarding one.

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for BookCupid.
1,040 reviews68 followers
June 16, 2015
"It wasn't madness and blood lust and something for parents to worry about."

Rachel's an introvert. She keeps to herself, reading and writing on her free time. And then everything changes when a class mate bullies her. Rachel begins listening to Heavy Metal, dressing in black (nothing to do with Goths), and writing dark poetry. Meeting Fern, encourages her to form a band. Finally, Rachel is free to express her real self -- but is violence the only way to do so?

The struggle to be taken seriously in the rock/metal music genre when you are female is something people don't talk about enough. Hayley Williams from Paramore has told numerous stories of how she had to stand up to harassment, and of course, Sara Taylor wrote a crazy traumatic scene demonstrating so in this book. With time, Rachel comes to believe that by hitting people and cursing at them, is the only way to maintain her image. But after reading this book, you come to see, that Rachel always had that rage in her.

Not boring at all.
Profile Image for Farren.
676 reviews70 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 8, 2018
Boring girls? More like boring novel.

This book should have been practically perfect for me, seeing as how high school freshman me had pink or red or blue dyed hair and wore those comically baggy pants (because that's what "the scene" was long before anybody came up with that stupid term.) But the story just never grabbed my interest by 27% in and I knew it was time to give up.

Was I supposed to sympathize with Rachel? I disliked her right off the bat and I ended up hating her more and more as the story moved on. Fern was okay (except for her god awful name) but not enough to keep me hanging on. I did enjoy the audiobook narrator's portrayal of all the characters though, and just her reading voice in general.

The plot was dragging, and I definitely never got to whatever tragedy is mentioned in the synopsis. Maybe it does pick up, but I probably still wouldn't have cared if it did, since everything about the writing was so lackluster to me. It's like I wanted to see this story in color but it was stuck in black and white.
Profile Image for Andrea.
103 reviews10 followers
November 20, 2020
Absolutely fascinating read that takes you on the ride of your life. Dream, grit, grime, and glitter in the gutter. 5 stars from me and I would love another book from Sara.
Profile Image for Evandro Roberto.
127 reviews43 followers
May 5, 2017

I REALLY liked this book. Went in with very low expectations, but it sure did surprise me.

Dark. Heavy. Metal.

Edit: (4/May)
I'm gonna round this up because I still find myself thinking about it and wishing Netflix would make it a tv show.
Profile Image for Clementine.
285 reviews148 followers
February 8, 2017
Actual rating: 1.5

So this morning I woke up and thought I would finally type some reviews of boring books I have read but put off. Like any normal human being, I tend to avoid boredom. Anyway. Here we are. Boring girls is without a doubt the most boring book I have read this year. I have honestly unlocked a new level of boredom with this book. I hate to compare books, but what the hell I did it in the other review I just typed so let's keep going. Okay, yeah, this book is the Canadian version of Dangerous Boys or Dangerous Girls. This means two things: 1) It's boring and predictable and; 2) Some of my Canadian patriotism died because the American version is about twelve times better even though I didn't enjoy Haas' books.

I know the author is a musician, so I asked myself if she didn't in fact feel like writing a memoir? We are taken on the path of music discovery by the MC and for 90% of the novel this is all there is. There were bits of feminism, I must give the author at least that. She managed to draw attention to the fact metal bands are mostly a man-exclusive club. Now that I have clapped, the whole path of self-discovery was useless. Nothing happened. This is where my comment about a memoir comes in. Rachel doesn't kill anyone for over 90% of the book and the build up for the said murders happens around 70%. This means that at least 70% of the novel were completely useless. I thought Rachel facing the consequences of her action would have been more interesting than all this shit about her buying boots at a thrift shop. In fact, the only thing that does happen is Rachel becoming more and more of an ass. I can deal with unlikable narrators, but asshole narrators? No. Asshole narrators who state metal music albeit violent didn't make her violent when the narration suggests otherwise... Huh. I don't know. Maybe, it missed the mark only for me, but I have no idea what the author tried to accomplish here. Yes, I believe that metal heads aren't more violent than the average and that classical lovers can be killers. However, I don't think the novel made a good argument in that sense.

I can suspend disbelief for so much but when a bunch of kids who have never really played become so insanely good at music at a insanely fast pace, I have to roll my eyes.

Read Wise Young Fool instead.
Profile Image for Samantha.
154 reviews29 followers
July 3, 2015
This is a zero star rating for me. Bleh.

I almost DNFd this one, but I've spent the last month on the road touring, and there's not much else to do on the 12 hour drives between cities and shows. How funny, that the only thing I really liked about this were the anecdotes about being a touring musician.

Y'know.. It must be this new "revenge genre" that I despise. Black Iris was definitely not a favourite, and I hated Gone Girl. At least Gillian Flynn is a fairly flawless author; her characters are fleshed out, and the writing can stand on its own.

Here's what I liked about the book (it's one line); "[they] had the same look in their eyes, the look a band gets when they've been away from home for too long. They laugh really hard at jokes that no one else can understand and there is both panic and exhaustion.". Why is THIS the standout line in a book that could have done a lot more? Probably because it's applicable to my life in this exact moment. If I didn't have this summer tour under my belt, I'm sure there would have been zero things to point out.

What didn't I like? Well, let's start with the protagonist (?), Rachel. I understand that the lead character in a novel, especially one based on revenge, is going to have some unlikeable traits... but Rachel had them all. She was strange, entirely delusional, dripping with misplaced privilege, and wildly naive. The teenage angst worked for the character at the beginning of the novel, but the timeline here spans years and she never outgrows it. She thinks everyone around her is an asshole, and so she herself becomes an asshole. Fern.. Well, I couldn't tell you, because there is almost zero character development there. Something bad happens, and then more bad things happen, and one minute she's a fairly shy and well-rounded young woman (who tries to balance Rachel's incessant need to be a total dick to everyone), the next she's withdrawn and thin, and the next she's deranged.

I had too many issues with this one. It was dull, moved at the pace of molasses, the lead was unbearable, and none of the other characters had any kind of dimension. You spend the entire novel wondering how everyone in Rachel's life could be that stupid or unaware. I mean, what were her teachers thinking? And wow, I wish I had parents that let me just go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted when I was a teenager.

Profile Image for ☼ rf ☼.
206 reviews106 followers
October 29, 2017
Warning for rape, death, slut shaming, heavy descriptions of blood.

This is one of those books that you can only really experience once. Anymore makes the story trite and stale plus, in the case of this book, you probably wouldn’t want to read it again. Yes, the characters are that unlikable. The message wasn’t that great and some scenes made me cringe, but it wasn’t a bad book by any means.

♤ the main character // is a total pain in the ass. Which normally makes me put a book down ASAP, but in this instance it kind of worked. She was annoying as hell, but the kind of annoying that bugs you because you can see yourself in her and resent that. A bratty teenage kid who thinks that they know absolutely everything. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t hate her – especially at the beginning. She’s an absolute nightmare at the start.

♠︎ slut shaming // is abundant in the book, but we know that the main character is a shitty person and so it doesn’t make me as uncomfortable as it normally would. In my opinion, it just solidifies the idea that we’re reading about a terrible person who has done terrible things and enjoying every second of it. Not only that, but the author shows the readers that the main character is a ‘role model’ for girls but makes it obvious that she really doesn’t have a clue about what she’s doing. Reading about train wrecks is always interesting.

♠︎ character growth // does (surprisingly) occur. When we got closer to the end of the book, I actually found myself feeling small bubbles of sympathy for the girl that I had hated at the start. Shitty things have happened / been done to her and I kind of get. However, I’m still not about that whole death, murder and blood life.

♤ the plot // sucks ass for the first couple of hours (I listened to the audiobook). It was sleep inducing for a long while, but the hate for the main character kept me trudging through. It was also the interesting premise of the book. Right from the very start we are made aware of that the main character has done something horrible, and it’s almost a game trying to guess why this bratty kid turned into a criminal. There are just so many possibilities.

♒︎ I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the entire book was a tragedy. Just when you start to like the extremely unlikeable characters, they f*ck their lives up big time. Ohh, I finally get where the title comes from … but you’ll have to read it to find out.
Profile Image for Jina.
394 reviews4 followers
January 23, 2015
*I will try to avoid spoilers.

Boring Girls by Sara Taylor

Rachel is excelling in school academically but as for the social scene she lives a life of solitude. Except when, being bullied by Brandi

On the way home from her last day of school, for summer break. Rachel hears metal music from a car stopped at a stop sign. The music matched how she felt at that moment. She noticed one bumper sticker she could actually make out the font of, DED.

So, she went to the music store and inquired about DED (Die Every Death) Rachel was hooked.

During the summer she became interested in other metal bands and buying metal magazines. She knew there were others out there like her, she just had to find them.

Once the new school year started she began to dress differently. In hopes of attracting others like her.

During Art class Rachel meets Josephine her first real friend, who transferred from another school.

Although, they were friends they had different tastes, interests etc.

After several attempts of Josephine trying to get Rachel to go to a party with her to meet her former school friends, Rachel reluctantly agrees.

While at the party things did not go as Josephine had hoped but Rachel had met a new friend.

Unlike with Josephine, Rachel felt a connection of common interest with Fern. The two friends shopped at the same places and enjoyed the same music.

Rachel and Fern left the party and made plans for Rachel to go to a concert with Fern and her friends.

Rachel and Fern became such good friends that they decided to start a band.

The band was all fun and good times. Until, what was to be an AMAZING night turned into Hell on Earth for Rachel and Fern.

The two boring girls begin their dark twisted spiral of revenge.

This book was AWESOME! While it was dark, extreme, intense, and twisted. I understand that good and bad experiences change us. When a person has such a traumatic experience they either fight to overcome and see the light or let their inner demons fester in the darkness and rip them a part from the inside out. The type of music has nothing to do with it.

*Check out and follow my blog:

Profile Image for Hope Alexandra.
61 reviews21 followers
February 6, 2020
"We're Colostomy Hag. Please, please don't fuck with us."

Here's the thing with Boring Girls - I had really, really high expectations. I love Sara Taylor's band The Birthday Massacre and her song writing is unbelievable. I had also heard great things from a friend who I grew up in the metal scene with. So when the bar is set that high, it's almost guaranteed to disappoint a little bit.

One of my first impressions was that the writing isn't super polished which kind of works given that it narrates from the perspective of a teenage girl, Rachel. It kind of reminded me of the writing I did in high school.  My second impression was that Rachel's character is very precocious and self important, and while I understand the "my parents don't get me, everyone is an asshole" mentality, I felt like it was a bit next level, and made it really hard to like her character sometimes.

I was pretty much of the mind that this was just weak character writing, however as Rachel matures, this improves so subtly that I didn't even notice it was happening until I  realized I wasn't annoyed by her anymore. So I am not really sure if this, coupled with the unpretentious writing was actually a subtle genius move by the author, or if it's just what happens sometimes with a debut novel.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I was supremely impressed with the second half of this book. All things mentioned above were making me really not love this book and it was starting to feel like an uphill battle, and then it completely changed tempo and suddenly I was drawn in. Once I lose my groove with a book it is really, really hard for me to finish it or get much enjoyment out of it, but Sara Taylor totally pulled it off. I actually bumped the rating up to a 4-star from a 3-star because I was so impressed with how well she pulled me back in.

In terms of recommending this book, it would depend on who I was making recommendations to. I feel like any women who grew up in the metal crowd would certainly appreciate a lot of the commentary on what it is like to be a girl in a largely male dominated crowd. I enjoyed this book (eventually) but I know it is absolutely not for everyone (much like the music scene the book is centred around).
Profile Image for Aless.
179 reviews
July 22, 2017
4.5 stars
Wow. My jaw dropped reading this and did not go back up.
This book is about metal and the metal scene, a coming of age story, misogyny, female friendship, and (dark) fantasies. If any of those topics interest you, I recommend Boring Girls to you.

I've never read a fiction book about metal before, so reading this made me so happy. The author Sara is actually singer Chibi from The Birthday Massacre, one of my favourite bands. I heard a while ago she'd released a book and I decided it was time to pick it up.

I've read books before where I really relate to a lonely, bullied etc person, but the extra layer of discovering the metal scene is what made this unique. All the thoughts on metal music, the alternative crowd, going to gigs and dealing with the the rest of society who don't and won't understand our metal/alternative scene one bit, it's all so perfect.

I learnt a fair amount about touring and life on the road from this too. It gives me even more respect for all the bands I like.

You will notice in the book description there is the topic of violence. I won't spoiler the book, I will just say that it swept me away, and was so interesting and believable.
Please note that most metalheads are not violent people, same as non metalheads. There's a small percentage in every culture/society/group etc who behaves badly.

Now I'm off to listen to The Birthday Massacre and feel proud to be a goth/metalhead.
Profile Image for Green.T..
260 reviews
January 8, 2017
I have to admit I was nervous about reading about a teenage girls start in the music industry. It's not a genre I usually read. But Rachel felt so realistic to me and this instantly made me connect with this book. The author didn't overly villainize her, nor did she try to make her too sympathetic. She just told a great story, for the reader to take from it what they wanted. Loved this about the book and it's definitely worth a read.


Profile Image for paula moreira.
115 reviews
October 28, 2015
this was probably the most different book to read. The characters were different, the plot was also really different. Overall, I think it was pretty good. Even though the ending wasn't the best, but it was very expected so it didn't faze me much...Advise you, if you don't like things that are very detailed about blood, then this may not be the book for youuuu. (:
Profile Image for Casey Grace .
81 reviews
March 15, 2019
I really liked the story and the idea of the book but there were just some things that really bugged me about it. The first being the narrator. I get that she's young but some of the things were just so juvenile that it made it hard to read at points. The second was the way they talked about other women. Degrading different types of women because they weren't like her is uncomfortable to read. She puts down women that are more sexual than her and it just kinda sucks to read.
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