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The burning
2020
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The founder of the Everyday Sexism Project presents the story of a girl whose effort to start over in a new town and school in the aftermath of a devastating social media mistake is complicated by rumors and the centuries-old story of a local victim of witchcraft fervor. - (Baker & Taylor)

After starting fresh with her mother in a Scottish fishing village, Anna learns that rumors of the "incident" have followed her, and she finds herself drawn to Maggie, a girl burned for witchcraft centuries before. Includes discussion questions. - (Baker & Taylor)

"A smart, explosive examination of gender discrimination and its ramifications." — Publishers Weekly

From Laura Bates, internationally renowned feminist and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, comes a realistic novel for the #metoo era. The Burning will prompt all readers to consider the implications of sexism and the role we can each play in ending it

What happens when you can't run or hide from a mistake that goes viral?

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.

The Burning is a powerful call to action, perfect for readers looking for:

  • feminist novels for teens
  • young adult realistic fiction books
  • contemporary novels with historical fiction elements
  • books that deal with current events and issues

Praise for The Burning:

"A haunting rallying cry against sexism and bullying." —Kirkus Reviews

"Emotionally charged...powerful." —Booklist

"A painfully realistic, spellbinding novel." —Shelf Awareness

"Bates's twist on a cautionary tale will take readers on an emotional roller coaster". —School Library Journal

- (Sourcebooks Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

In this emotionally charged UK import by the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a teenage victim of revenge porn starts over in a new school and learns how often history repeats itself when it comes to sexual double standards. Anna and her mother have moved to the tiny Scottish village of St. Monans, hoping to escape the past. Anna has deleted her social media presence and is going by her mother's maiden name. Anna soon makes good friends and finds an actual nice guy to flirt with, but a chance remark sets off a wildfire of innuendo and harassment. A local history project also leads Anna to reflect on the uncomfortable parallels between her own situation and that of a seventeenth-century woman accused of witchcraft by a possessive nobleman. This interesting historical mystery is undercut by supernatural elements that aren't smoothly integrated. Though Bates provides a powerful, hopeful ending for Anna, the authenticity of the harassment and cyberbullying is difficult to read; some may find it traumatic, others cathartic. An author's note with resources is included. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Bates's debut novel is a contemporary social statement on the impact of bullying, peer pressure, and vicious crowd mentalities both online and in person. Anna flees England to start fresh in Scotland after being maliciously cyberbullied and blackmailed at her old school. In the digital age, physical miles mean nothing and her past quickly catches up to her. Adding a magical realism element, Bates connects Anna to the story of a local woman, Maggie, who was accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. Visions of Maggie's life serve more as a narrative vehicle for Anna to understand that there are parallels in the social justice system in the digital age to the madness of witch hunts in the past. Addressing important topics such as peer pressure, slut-shaming, and bullying, Bates tries to navigate between storytelling and attempts to empower the reader with feminist values. It's hard to do the subject matter justice and Bates's attempt is clearly laudable in her research and execution. VERDICT Bates's twist on a cautionary tale will take readers on an emotional roller coaster, hopefully feeling stronger and less alone upon conclusion. For fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why.—Melanie Leivers, Burnhaven Library, Burnsville, MN

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

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