Bad Girls Club
Author: Judy Gregerson
Publisher: Blooming Tree Press
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is shocking, gripping, and horrific, but it’s a book you must read.
In Bad Girls Club we follow the story of Destiny and Cassidy, two girls traumatized by abusive and neglectful parents. The story opens with Destiny begging her father to get a summer job so she can buy a car, which he will not allow her to do because she must help her mother, June. That’s all Destiny’s life has really been about–helping her mother, taking care of her younger sister, Cassidy, and keeping the house running because her father can’t handle life. She would love to take Cassidy and run away from the freak show known as her family, but she is trapped and it seems like there will never be any way out.
If only Destiny could find the way to fix her mother–bring her back to the person she was before Crater Lake, then things would be better. But Destiny doesn’t even know if that way exists, as she watches her mother spiral ever downward into the depths of mental illness. Her father, long ago, stopped trying to make things work; to find a solution to the family’s problems. It’s all up to Destiny to figure out how to save Cassidy from the mother who hates her, while trying to find a way to save herself from the abuse her parents dish out.
As things go from bad to worse, Destiny even distances herself from her friends. How long can she continue to try and hold her family together? What will it take for her father to admit that her mother wants to hurt Cassidy? How will she ever find a way out? And will she find it before or after her mother has destroyed her life and Cassidy’s?
Bad Girls Club has to be one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, but I couldn’t put it down. Judy Gregerson has created a gut-wrenching story of a family torn apart by mental illness. Told from Destiny’s present day point of view, Bad Girls Club will make you want to turn the other way, while at the same time compelling you to read more. Destiny’s personal struggle between wanting to help her mother while also desiring to run away reminds you of the strong bond between mother and child. And it tears you up as you watch Destiny pull away from even her closest of friends so she can deal with her mother’s ever worsening condition.
With characters so well-developed and real, you would swear you had met them, Judy Gregerson holds nothing back in sharing Destiny’s and Cassidy’s story. I applaud Gregerson for tackling such a weighty issue and for going all the way in depicting the realities of child abuse.
Compelling and disconcerting, Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is one book you will never forget.