Bait Dog - Chuck Wendig

This story is far off the beaten track for me and difficult to characterize. You could say it's YA because our protagonist is a teenager in high school but the themes and situations that Atlanta finds herself in are very much on the adult end of the spectrum. Since she is basically raising herself (her mother is barely present and no role model) Atlanta has to figure out that common decency is not as common as she might think and that lesson is a ferocious and ruthless one.


Wendig does not shy away from the ugly and brutal here; dog fighting, white supremacists, suicide and bullying are all part of this ambiguous story. Our gal Atlanta is fighting against a corrupt town with just her wits and a squirrel gun for protection while she finds herself narrowly surviving so many dangerous situations by the seat of her pants that there were parts that had me cringing as I read! Add to that the fact that she is a teenager and making half baked, wrong choices is a given and you are in for one bumpy tale of vengeance and retribution! But if there is something to be said about this girl it is that she doesn't give up and her moral compass, despite some pretty heavy sh*t being dealt her way, is dead set on the straight and narrow as she keeps on struggling to make things right. Does she succeed? Yes, mostly. Is it and uncomfortable and ugly? Also yes, but the story is richer for it.