Powerful 1960s historical fiction

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lurkykitty Avatar


Bad Girls Never Say Die is set in Houston in the 1960s, and is touted as an Outsiders retelling. Since I never read the Outsiders, or read it so long ago that I've forgotten it, I'm evaluating this book on its own merits.
Bad Girls Never Say Die is well-written historical fiction for young adults, set at the beginning of 60s feminism, and when significant events in the civil rights movement were occurring.
Evie is a 15 year-old, the youngest in a group of "bad girl" friends, with whom she cuts class, smokes and hangs out at the local drive in, much to the consternation of her mother and grandmother. A "good girl", Diane, comes to Evie's rescue when she is attacked by a rich boy, and becomes part of Evie's "bad girl" circle. There is a strong focus on female friendship and loyalty. The expectations were low for women, both rich and poor, and girls faced devastating consequences for any sexual behavior. The double standard for males and females was alive and well.
The characters were vivid and complex. I enjoyed Evie's fierce, "tuff", friends and especially liked the relationships within Evie's family: her sister, mother and grandmother. Her mother is committed to understanding and loving Evie, despite her disapproval of some of Evie's behaviors. The story was gripping and fast-paced and makes the reader think about how much has changed, and how much hasn't.