This is the story of Julia and Cassie, best friends growing up in a small town in Massachusetts. Julia is looking back on the events of their lives and remembering the girl that she had known since nursery school. Cassie and Julia mean everything to each other, until they don't, and they begin to grow apart as they make different choices and groups of friends. Messud perfectly captures that time when we first discover people outside of our families who take up residence in our hearts.— Sharon K. Nagel
Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood's imaginary worlds and painful adult reality--crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.
Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.