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The Burning by Laura Bates

A story that relates the modern rumor mill to the witch trials of the past


Synopsis: Anna and her mother move to Scotland, hoping to escape some drama they faced in England. When Anna begins school, a history project spurs her to investigate the past women of her new town. She comes across a footnote of a woman who was tried for witchcraft. Her research on this mysterious woman will change the course of her life, and show her that sometimes the past isn't so different from the present.


Anna has learned the hard way that once a rumor is started, it can be difficult to prove to the world that one small action, true or made up by someone else out of spite, only makes up part of the truth of a person. "When did the rest of me disappear?" As Anna's research on this mysterious woman progresses, she will learn that the destructive powers of rumors are timeless, which helps her cope with her own situation.


This is an insightful, powerful, and emotional look into how drastically a life can be damaged by gossip and one sided stories. It's also a story of grief, and the power of friendship. The Burning is an excellent look into many facets of life and how the past is often repeated in modern times.


My thoughts/feelings: I loved this book. I think it should be read by everyone. Rumors are harmful and the effects can be long lasting, permanent, and far reaching. If you've never had a rumor destroy you, then you are lucky.


In high school, a girl started an ugly rumor about me. It grew and turned people against me. There was no truth to the story. But that did not matter. Things got so bad that I, much like Anna, tried to move away. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me. The time I spent at my high school after that was very difficult. It still makes me cry to look back on and think about. Kids - and adults - should be educated on this topic. We should teach our children to be better than this. We as adults should do everything in our power to stop these kinds of rumors and to help those affected by them, rather than victim blaming.


Favorite quotes:

"Being in a different place doesn't mean it never happened. Why doesn't she understand that? It doesn't mean I'm not still hurting."


"We are the granddaughters of the witches you burned. And we're not putting up with it anymore."


Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Fire and Laura Bates for the digital copy of The Burning in exchange for my honest review.

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