Book Reviews

review; the burning

the burning

40745002Title: The Burning
Author: Laura Bates
Genre: YA, contemporary
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Simon Schuster Children’s UK

A rumour is like a fire. You might think you’ve extinguished it but one creeping, red tendril, one single wisp of smoke is enough to let it leap back into life again. Especially if someone is watching, waiting to fan the flames

New school.
New town.
New surname.
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 received this copy in exchange for an honest review from Definitely Books (Pansing). All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Pansing!

This book is available where all good books are.

Have you ever read a book that you have to keep putting down because it hits you too hard? Even though you have never experienced the exact events taking place in the book, the emotions feel too raw and real for you to face in one sitting. A book that punches you in the stomach, reaches in, grabs your insides and squeezes and twists until you want to throw up a little from the emotional upheaval you are facing.

This was that book for me.

Content warnings for: mentions of rape, torture, murder, slut shaming.
(I am probably missing a few, and for that, I am sorry.)

The cover of the copy I have states that this is a book that every teen girl needs to read. I agree. I also think this is a book that everyone needs to read. It is uncomfortable and raw, and it highlights things that every woman has faced in her life – the misogyny in their lives, the societal expectations, the pressures, and the unfairness of it all.

The novel shows two parallel storylines – that of Anna, and 400 years before her, that of Maggie. Both these girls face hardships that are very similar, and the thing that struck me most was that for all our progress, in a lot of ways, nothing has changed for women.

The author used different tenses and voices for the two storylines, and it made the read very atmospheric. It worked surprisingly well, something I honestly did not expect the first time we switched point of views.

I don’t know if I will read this book again – it was super intense and made me feel a roller coaster of emotions – but it is a very necessary story, and I know I’m going to keep the copy for my daughter to read when she’s older.


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I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.


  • Fanna

    I love intense books but I need to be in a particular mood to enjoy them. This one sounds really good with all the topics and themes it’s dealing with, nice review, Ara <3

    • Ara

      I hope you enjoy it if you read it! I completely agree about having to be in the mood for these types of books, I’m the same!

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