The Burning by Laura Bates
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Release date: 21/02/2019
Summary: New school.
Social media profiles?
There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’.
At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…
I was so excited to pick this book up because I have been loving feminist YA contemporary lately, and I ended up really enjoying it. I had a few issues with it, which is why it didn’t get 5 stars, but the main story and the feminism really helped to bring it back up. It was a really engaging, quick read. I buddy read it with Faye and I found that I never had a problem meeting the day’s page count.
I felt so many strong emotions while reading this book, mostly anger at everything Anna was forced to deal with and all the blame that was placed on her for something that was in no way her fault. There were times when I came close to screaming at some of the things Anna’s classmates did to her.
It was so heartbreaking to read about Anna’s suffering. There were a few moments at the end that I really loved, where Anna and her friends actually fought back against the bullying, but in ways that actually seemed like they would be effective, as opposed to other books where the characters only manage to make it worse.
I also really enjoyed the story about Maggie, and learning more about her at the same time as Anna. It was really interesting to see both their stories parallel each other, and it was nice to see Anna take comfort and strength from Maggie’s story. The only thing I didn’t like about Maggie’s story is the way we learnt some of it. Anna kept having very vivid and real memory like dreams about Maggie’s life, and they seemed really out of place in a contemporary story. Anna thought that the dreams were Maggie’s memories being passed on to her, and it felt a bit to magical to belong in a contemporary story for me. They were also written in second person, which really jolted me out of the story. I would have much preferred to learn about Maggie through Anna’s research.
There were a few bits of the story that didn’t really make sense, and it felt like the author just used the first explanation for why certain things happened that she thought of and didn’t care if it made sense or was realistic. There were also a few things that happened that I really felt like needed some more discussion around them, but they were just never mentioned again, which really bothered me.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and the parts I had problems with were minor enough to not effect my enjoyment of the story too much. I would definitely recommend it if you love feminist books.
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