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The Burning

Written by Laura Bates

Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults

LoveReading View on The Burning

Chilling exposé of contemporary misogyny that draws powerful parallels with medieval witch-hunts

March 2019 YA Debut of the Month

Written by the founder of Everyday Sexism, and based on real-life experiences, double-standard “slut shaming” and sexual degradation are here exposed with vital urgency, and interwoven with the gripping story of a medieval woman whose abuse at the hands of a misogynistic society has present-day parallels.

Fifteen-year-old Anna and her mum have moved hundreds of miles so she can escape the sexist bullying she was subjected to at her last school. But as Anna tries to make a fresh start, her past rears its head and continues to haunt her. While suffering torrents of abuse from her peers, Anna immerses herself in a history project that draws her into the tragic life of Maggie, an unmarried young woman from the 17th century. In juxtaposing Maggie and Anna’s experiences, the author lays bare an unbroken thread of misogyny from the Middle Ages to today’s culture of “revenge porn” and sexual shaming. Centuries on from scold’s bridles and burnings at the stake, women are still blamed and punished for the brutal behaviour of men.

But Anna finds strength in her friendships with Alisha, Cat and Robin, and her connection with Maggie makes this a potent page-turner that will speak to a generation. As the author states in her afterword, “You are not alone, you are not to blame, and you deserve to feel better”. Or, in Anna’s words, “We are the granddaughters of the witches you burned. And we’re not putting up with it any more.”

Joanne Owen

Other Info

‘This isn’t new; this isn’t something social media has created. It isn’t a problem that came with the internet. It’s about the way that we’ve always treated women and girls and the ways that we continue to treat them today’   Laura Bates

As the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates spends her time travelling the UK and hearing testimonies from young girls who have experienced sexist behaviour. This novel is a fictionalisation of her findings.

The Burning Synopsis

Fire is like a rumour. You might think you've extinguished it but one creeping, red tendril, one single wisp of smoke is enough to let it leap back into life again. Especially if someone is watching, waiting to fan the flames ...

The Burning tells the story of fifteen-year-old Anna who has moved to a small Scottish village with her mother. There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’. At least that’s what she thinks… until the whispers start up again. Desperate for a distraction to escape the brutal bullying at school, Anna loses herself in a history project about a young girl, Maggie, who was accused of witchcraft hundreds of years before. Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a girl whose story has terrifying similarities to Anna’s own…
The parallels between the persecution of medieval witches and the social burning of modern day Anna become unnervingly apparent. The reader will be left in no doubt: it’s time to extinguish society’s sexist attitudes.

The Burning Press Reviews

The Burning lights a fire in you - one that makes you want to fight for change and ignite sparks in others so the fire spreads and spreads. - Holly Bourne

Bold, brutal & hugely important. - Abi Elphinstone

Praise for Laura Bates:

`One of the first women to harness the power of social media to fight sexism and misogyny and give millions of young women a voice.' Grazia

`Mature, eloquent and passionate, Bates is in many ways the voice of her generation.' Huffington Post

Praise for Girl Up:

`A bracing love letter to today's teenage girls' - Sunday Times

'Essential reading for young women and girls' - Morning Star Online

'This no-nonsense guide to being a girl in 2016 is one all teen girls should read' - Red magazine

'If you have a daughter or a niece or a younger sister or a goddaughter, buy it for them now' --The Pool

Praise for Everyday Sexism:

`This is an important book' -Independent

`A potent reminder of how far feminism has come and how far it has to go' - Kirkus Reviews

'A game-changing book, a must-read for every woman' -Cosmopolitan

'Funny and clever' - Telegraph

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781471170201
Publication date: 21/02/2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781471170201
Publication date: 21st February 2019
Author: Laura Bates
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month

About Laura Bates

Laura Bates studied English at Cambridge University and went on to be a freelance journalist. She has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, Red Magazine and Grazia among others. She is also contributor at Women Under Siege, a New-York based organisation working to combat the use of sexual violence as a tool of war in conflict zones worldwide. She is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project.

More About Laura Bates

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