I just finished reading The Burning by Laura Bates, author of Everyday Sexism. This book centers on Anna, a fifteen-year-old English girl gives in to peer pressure and takes and sends explicit photos of herself to her boyfriend, who then turns on her and posts the photos online. The shaming and cyberbulling she experiences, which also takes place soon after the death of her father to cancer, are appalling and she and her mother move away to Scotland hoping to for a fresh start. Once in Scotland, Anna is assigned a local history project, which leads her to investigate the case of Maggie Moran, a local woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. Soon enough, Anna’s history catches up to her and the abuse begins again.

This book is very intense and a difficult read but the topics highlighted are of critical importance for teens and their parents. While the writing and pacing are a little uneven, this book is a valuable conversation-starter and will hopefully build awareness, empathy, and compassion in its readers.

Content warning: misogyny, sexual abuse

Recommended for ages 14+. Publication date: April 2020. Place your hold by clicking here.