Book Review – The Burning by Laura Bates

the burningA 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…

The compelling YA debut from Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and bestselling author of Girl Up.


My rating: Cyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starNo-Star

I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Burning is part social commentary, part historical and part witchy fantasy. It’s a good mix. The majority is definitely more contemporary than I expected, but I really liked the way that the author dealt with the topics of sending nudes, slur shaming and social media. And I loved how the story set in the now melded with the historical aspects, folded together with a little bit of witch-magic.

It is pretty hard hitting and powerful, and it’s hard not to feel for Anna. Her story is sadly not uncommon, and while I would have liked to see some of the topics handled in more depth (particularly dealing with the school!) I think the breadth of the things Anna had to deal with is reflective of the situation and well handled.

I like Anna as a main character. It is a little frustrating to find out so slowly what happened exactly, which is sadly in keeping with a lot of YA, but she is sympathetic as a character, and her descriptions of the way it all makes her feel were fab. Plus I like her feeling the connection to Maggie’s story and chasing down information on her. I hope she got an A on that report!!

I did find it frustrating that she was so isolated – not just from her previous life and ex friends, but at the new school. I get it from a story perspective but it’s so hard to watch a character go through all that without support!

The witchy element is well done too – a very light touch that easily could have ruined it or felt like a distraction but for me it just added a little something extra.


Buy The Burning from Amazon UK.

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