If you’re looking for a YA feminist read, then this is for you | ARC Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

If you're looking for a YA feminist read, then this is for you | ARC Review: The Burning by Laura Bates


If you're looking for a YA feminist read, then this is for you | ARC Review: The Burning by Laura Bates



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.

Should You read The Burning by Laura Bates ?

CW: slut-shaming, homophobic slurs, rape(off-page)

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 …

This is going to be short review because it’s a short book. Wow..umm, this is not a great introduction but let’s begin anyway.

The story starts with a girl named Anna remembering lists and walking inside an house. It appears that she’s moved homes-from Birmingham to Scotland- in the middle of a school year with her mother. Curious. Then, as Anna goes to her new school and her school adviser expresses regret over her father’s death, she sighs in relief thinking that her mother kept her promise. Curiouser.

The “secretive” theme plays out through quite a number of pages and my “intrigue”-o meter is sky high throughout. As Anna starts to settle into her new school, she’s given an assignment to write about an interesting historical figure in their town. *cue the groans*

Anna, new to town, has no clue so she goes to the local library and stumbles upon a book which has an anecdote on a local witch. This is where I tell you that I love stories about witches..I mean, what’s not to like? Anna ,with the help of a friend, manages to track down the author who wrote the book and he agrees to help her find out more about the local “witch”.

Now, the house she lives in is really old and Anna decides to take a trip into the attic and… she gets weird vibes from the moment she steps in. Anna also discovers a secret room and finds a necklace which Anna takes for herself. After availing herself o this necklace, Anna begins to have these visions of the so called “witch” she’s rsearching about. The name of the woman is Maggie and Anna finds some similarities with her and promises to find the truth about her. Meanwhile, it turns out Anna cannot escape her past as rumours spread like wildfire with the help of social media. Will Anna be able to survive as rumours threaten to undo everything she’s built?

I think that this book highlights a lot of important issues such as slut-shaming, double standards, bullying, the negative and positive aspects of social media. I loved the incorporation of a 400 year old story i.e. the story of Maggie. However, I think that there was too much to unpack. I thought that this story would have a paranormal element to it but I liked the way the author brought Maggie’s story to an end but I would have liked to hear more about Maggie.. I wanted there to be some sort of connection with Maggie and Anna. the abscence of these points left a void in a book which had a promising start.

Overall, I recommend this book if you’ve read GIRL UP or if you’re looking for a YA feminist read which highlights issues all women are forced to face. This was author Laura Bates’ YA debut and I found it promising so I will definitely look out for her upcoming titles.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Author: Connect with Author Laura Bates here .

  • Publisher: Simon Schuster Children’s UK
  • Publication Date: 21 Feb 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 368 Pages

Do you think you’ll read The Burning? What’re some of your favourite YA reads that deals with feminism? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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