Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rachel doesn't fit in at school, or anywhere really, and struggles with her feelings of powerlessness and rejection. Then she discovers Metal music and finds the outlet she needs for her rage. She and her best friend Fern form a band and work hard to be taken seriously as women in Metal. They practice, record an album and go on tour. Things are looking up until the night they finally meet their favourite band and have their illusions shattered. It's a story of female friendship, misogyny and revenge, sort of Thelma and Louise meets I Spit on Your Grave to a Metal soundtrack.
Boring Girls is very, very dark and not for the faint of heart. Rachel is a somewhat unlikeable person, which made her an interesting character. She is quick to anger and takes everything personally. Not too much information is given about what Fern is like as a person, beyond how she looks, how she plays music and how she is useful to Rachel.
The parts about the bullying Rachel endured at school read like they were written from experience. To begin with I thought this was going to be a story about two angry teenage outcasts wanting to hit back at the bullies at school, a story familiar from many schoolyard massacres, albeit this time about two girls instead of boys, but Rachel and Fern have other reasons to be angry. This story could be triggering for some as it concerns sexual assault.
The glorification of violence in this book made me quite uncomfortable. I found the ending a bit unrealistic, and wondered if parts of the story happen purely in Rachel's head rather than in reality, or if it's not meant to be taken literally. It's a little like American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis in that respect (though with nowhere near the level of graphic violence and vileness of the latter).
Boring Girls is a dark, challenging young adult novel which would present a lot of topics for a book club discussion. It's sad, occasionally funny and frequently disturbing and will leave you thinking about it long after you put it down.