Winner, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes)
Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award
A sharp and gritty novel told in multiple voices, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is the powerful story of a gang of teenage girls in Vancouver called the Black Roses, a.k.a. "the city’s worst nightmare": Mac, the self-appointed leader and mastermind; Mercy, the Punjabi princess with a skill for theft; Kayos, a high-school dropout who gave birth to a daughter at age thirteen; Sly Girl, who fled her First Nations reserve for a better life, only to find depravity and addiction; and Z, a sixteen-year-old graffiti artist.
Cast out by mainstream society, the Black Roses rob ATMs, cook crack on stoves, and savagely beat down anyone who dares to harm them. Brutal and broken, they claw at the knot of darkness and violence that tightens around their lives.
Told in stark, vivid, and fearless prose, Anatomy of a Girl Gang is an unflinching story about lost girls struggling for power, voice, and hope.
Ashley Little is author of Prick: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist and the YA novel The New Normal. She lives in British Columbia.
|Publisher:||Arsenal Pulp Press, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Ashley Little studied creative writing at the University of Victoria. Her debut novel, Prick: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist (Tightrope Books) was shortlisted for a ReLit Award and has been optioned for a film, for which she is writing the screenplay. She is also the author of the YA novel The New Normal (Orca Book Publishers).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anatomy of a Girl Gang – A touching story of vulnerability that’s brutal, edgy and explosive Five young women, all from seriously dysfunctional backgrounds, form the Black Roses, a girl gang that provides them with safety, family, purpose and love as well as cash from their criminal pursuits. The leader, Mac, has a mother’s who's a junkie; Mercy, an Indo-Canadian, has lost her parents as a child; Kayos, the Shaughnessy kid has been sexually abused by her step-father; Sly Girl, the Native Indian has escapes the hell that’s the rez, and Z, the Chinese graffiti artist can’t conform to her New Canadian family’s cultural expectations. For a short time these young women, hardly more than girls, come together and share a special bond, but living outside the law as well as dealing with addictions and the psychological issues that haunt them gradually begin to erode the Black Roses from within and without. Author Ashley Little tells this story from the POV of the five members. Her voice uses street slang that sounds authentic, as do her descriptions of life on the mean streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The writing is fresh, flawless, and powerfully simple. The plot is brutal, edgy and explosive. The format uses short chapters, graphic headings and jumps back and forth from character to character but manages to remain cohesive and extremely readable. The author took some chances in writing style, format and subject matter and succeeded in all three. Anatomy of a Girl Gang is a ground breaker and worthy of the accolade it’s been receiving.
I have never been in a gang, I think the closest I have been to what I would call a gang is when a bunch of us girls in elementary school hung out together and we tried to be the “cool ones.” I thought we were “cool” at least for a while until it didn’t matter anymore and the cool factor faded away. The girl gang in Ashley Little’s novel is nothing like the gang we were a part of. There is something about gangs that intimidate me yet they also fascinate me. Gangs are scary and we all know why. Drugs, shootings, violence, gangs…. it’s a negative word. Gangs for some individuals is also commitment and bonding, it is this bond with other members that is the only thing that they have that holds them together, it’s their family. Sad, but its true in some circumstances. In Ashley Little’s novel the gang is a tight-knit group of girls. I was drawn in by their stories and their commitment to their cause. Each individual brought baggage to the group which was thrown into the mix, their shattered lives searching for something better and finding within the group security to just be themselves. Keeping the gang small the girls relied upon one another and formed a sisterhood. The language is strong, violent and its definitely street talk. The girls are giving it a go as an all-female gang and as other gangs try to intimate them they need to stand their ground. I felt on edge reading, the intensity of the girls actions as they put themselves out there at all costs proving themselves and excitement of the other elements of the book, it was hard to put this book down. I wanted the girls to succeed yet I wanted someone to look out for them, they seemed so vulnerable, being new and without history to support their cause. You’re walking with the Black Roses, as they try to make a name for themselves, their work is violent and intense so be ready