Perry and Baby Girl are best friends, though you wouldn't know it if you met them. Their friendship is woven from the threads of never-ending dares and power struggles, their loyalty fierce but incredibly fraught. They spend their nights sneaking out of their trailers, stealing cars for joyrides, and doing all they can to appear hard to the outside world.With all their energy focused on deceiving themselves and the people around them, they don't know that real danger lurks: Jamey, an alleged high school student from a nearby town, has been pining after Perry from behind the computer screen in his mother's trailer for some time now, following Perry and Baby Girl's every move—on Facebook, via instant messaging and text,and, unbeknownst to the girls, in person. When Perry and Baby Girl finally agree to meet Jamey face-to-face, they quickly realize he's far from the shy high school boy they thought he was, and they'll do whatever is necessary to protect themselves. Lindsay Hunter's stories have been called "mesmerizing. . . visceral . . . exquisite" (Chicago Tribune), and in Ugly Girls she calls on all her faculties as a wholly original storyteller to deliver the most searing, poignant, powerful debut novel in years.
Hunter (Don't Kiss Me) has written two collections of gritty, often grotesque, flash fiction populated by downtrodden characters slogging through depressingly marginal lives, her first full-length novel traverses similar territory. Pretty but trashy Perry and her butch, smack-talking best friend, Dayna (aka Baby Girl), spend most days cutting class and most nights sneaking out, going for joyrides in stolen cars, and antagonizing the waitstaff at Denny's. The hours at home are equally dreary Dayna's stuck caring for her mentally handicapped brother who was hurt in a motorcycle accident while Perry does her best to ignore her perpetually drunk mother and beaten, ineffectual stepfather. Circumstances get slightly more titillating when Jamey, a supposed newcomer to the area, starts flirting with them online, but the competition over him inevitably causes tension. Not surprisingly, his mysterious online persona is far from the creepy reality, and, in a final showdown readers will see coming, everyone gets their comeuppance especially Jamey. The world of pick-up trucks and trailer parks Hunter's characters inhabit is already relentlessly bleak; a gratuitous scene at the end involving Perry and a forced sexual encounter (not involving Jamey) renders the plot intolerable.