Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Paste, LitHub, Real Simple 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist: Best Fiction Longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize “Incandescent...A searing portrait of what feminism looks like in much of the world.” —Vogue “A treat for Ferrante fans, exploring the bonds of friendship and how female ambition beats against the strictures of poverty and patriarchal societies.” —The Huffington Post An electrifying debut novel about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another. Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother’s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Shobha Rao's Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.