Saturday, November 1, 2008

Enchanting Review: Burn

YA Contemporary
Little, Brown
288 pages
Available November 2008

Rating: 4 Enchantments

What causes a person to kill someone? Fourteen-year-old Cameron Grady’s life becomes a nightmare after one remark at school. He’s later known as Cameron Diaz by the local jock bullies, who torment him daily.

Cameron is filled with anger. He escapes by running in the nearby woods and playing with fire. No one will listen. Not his mother. Not his teachers. One day something horrific happens to Cameron that causes him to react in a frightening way against someone else. Nothing will ever be the same.

This is an intense look at how far bullying can go before it can erupt into a terrible act of violence. Cameron’s pain is very realistic and his inability to communicate with his family or others around him is sad but I’m afraid true. This book reminded me how tough high school can be. Add to that a past of being abused by a parent and then by someone else. The cycle can continue on which unfortunately it does in this tale.

Phillips describes a disturbing world where both the abused and abuser are victims. She looks into the mind of one who ends up doing something frightening but does show there can be redemption at the end.

A must-read for anyone who wants to see what can cause an individual to go over the edge. I feel this book would be great to read in a high school class and then have discussions afterwards. What should you do if you know someone is being victimized? Or what should you do if you’re the one on the other end?

Suzanne Phillips is a special education English teacher in San Diego, California, and the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Chloe Doe. She has an MFA in fiction writing and is an active member of her local writers' community in Santee, California, where she lives with her daughter.

September 2008

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