Sarah Nicole Lemon’s debut novel Done Dirt Cheap is powerful and sexy in more ways than one (especially since motorcycles and attractive men are involved). But the sexiest thing about this novel is the way in which the girls stick together through thick and thin.
It’s no secret that, a lot of times, women are their own worst enemies. We’re conditioned to compete against each other and do whatever it takes to be the best. It’s not like we were ever sat down and told these things explicitly, but they’re in the back of our minds nonetheless. We tear each other down through gossip and judgments, effectively making sure none of us really flourishes.
That is, until we learn better. Until we learn that we’re stronger when we support one another and stick together.
Now, while I love the action and the shirtless guys in Sarah Nicole Lemon’s YA novel Done Dirt Cheap (seriously though, I can’t get their descriptions out of my head), the thing I love most is the fact that it explicitly promotes the idea of two women being stronger than one (and on multiple occasions).
The interesting thing is that the two protagonists in Done Dirt Cheap, Tourmaline and Virginia, strike up a relationship with each other out of necessity. Tourmaline needs something that she can only get from Virginia, and vice versa.
For a large portion of the novel, they work together to achieve what they want but, while their relationship may be friendly, they’re not exactly friends. They discuss their situations and dreams but they don’t share important information or secrets with each other. They don’t even necessarily trust each other. Each girl simply uses the other for their own personal gains. Sometimes those gains intersect and it’s a win-win for both girls, but sometimes they don’t.
But there comes a turning point in the novel where dark secrets start to surface and the girls realize that they can no longer be islands onto themselves. In order to both fully succeed and overcome their demons, they have to work together and help each other. They need to rely on friendship rather than the semi-symbiotic relationship they had been functioning under previously.
It’s at this point where everything changes. There’s a subtle but noticeable shift in the book’s tone that makes their missions suddenly seem much more attainable. They’re no longer two teenage girls trying to keep up with and have an impact on the world around them.
By transforming their relationship into friendship and truly working together, they become a female force to be reckoned with. Regardless of whether or not they accomplish their missions (because I won’t spoil the outcome), their sticking together and reliance on each other is one of the biggest wins of their lives.
Done Dirt Cheap could’ve easily been a story of two girls who are just out to get theirs, but the story that Sarah Nicole Lemon has crafted is so much better than that. It’s an insight into the lives of two teenage girls that are trying to forge their own paths. It’s a tale of female strength and empowerment. Women banding together and being stronger as a unit is a lesson that all girls should learn (preferably sooner rather than later), and Done Dirt Cheap conveys it in the most powerful, exciting, and sexy way.
About ‘Done Dirt Cheap’ by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.
Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline.
But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.