Book Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352 pages

Published: February 21, 2019 (US: April 7, 2020)

Publisher: Simon Schuster Children’s UK (US Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire)

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: 

New school. Check.
New town. Check.
New last name. Check.
Social media profiles? Deleted.

Anna and her mother have moved hundreds of miles to put the past behind them. Anna hopes to make a fresh start and escape the harassment she’s been subjected to. But then rumors and whispers start, and Anna tries to ignore what is happening by immersing herself in  learning about Maggie, a local woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. A woman who was shamed. Silenced. And whose story has unsettling parallels to Anna’s own.

From Laura Bates, internationally renowned feminist and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, comes a debut novel for the #metoo era. It’s a powerful call to action, reminding all readers of the implications of sexism and the role we can each play in ending it.


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Anna and her mother have moved miles away from her home to Scotland to escape her past. New name…check. Social media profiles…deleted. Anna is on her way to starting a new life. But the past has a tricky way of finding you. The whispers and stares start up again. Anna tries to ignore them by immersing herself in a story about Maggie, a 17th-century witch who was accused of witchcraft and finds unsettling parallels with her life. Anna then beings to learn that women being silenced and shamed is not a thing of the past.

There are so many books out there that are resolve around women’s rights or women being silenced and shamed and readers will think that there shouldn’t be anymore. But these stories are necessary since women’s rights is an ongoing issue that hasn’t been resolved. Kids and teens must know more about this issue. What better way to do that than to write a story that that is relatable to their mindset?

I read some reviews of this book and a lot of people said that they felt that this story wasn’t necessary or some of the reactions and actions were a bit outdated. The funny thing is a lot of the people who wrote those reviews were adults. People have to remember these type of books aren’t meant strictly for adults. Teenagers would identify with this story because this stuff happens. Bates adapted relevant issues and turned them into a modern-day witchhunt, something that girls and women go through every day. As soon as I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down. Anna’s emotions and torture felt so real to me. I love the aspect of Anna researching another woman’s tale. It put a different spin on this kind of stories. It makes young female readers research their past to understand their future more.

This book is compelling, intriguing, engaging…characteristics that an enthusiastic reader is looking for in a good read. I had a hard time putting this one down. You will be emotionally tortured by the connection you’ll have with Anna but you will also be empowered by Anna’s perseverance and determination. Just what we need in a strong female character.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

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