Book: Burn Our Bodies Down
Author: Rory Powers
Genre(s): Young Adult, Horror
Release: July 2020
A brief summary: Margot, daughter of a dysfunctional mother and an unknown family history, returns to her mother’s hometown and gets more than she bargained for as she unravels her family’s mysterious past.
My thoughts: I went in to this book knowing nothing about it besides the fact that Powers had written Wilder Girls and I enjoyed that book quite a bit. The pacing of Burn Our Bodies Down started out slow; it is made uncomfortably clear that the main character, Margot, has a poor relationship with her presumably crazy mother but still loves her because it’s all she’s ever known. The book starts to pick up though, and by the end, it was a whirlwind of events and I was obsessed with it.
Overall: The thing is, Margot’s mother has always kept her in the dark about her family’s past – never has she shared anything about possible relatives, always pretending that they don’t exist. Things come to a head when Margot gets fed up and after some snooping, discovers a way to contact her previously unknown grandmother. All of this happens about a third through the book, and the entire time, you really aren’t given enough of Margot to connect with her because it is all written at a superficial level. I struggled to get through the first part of the book simply because of the pacing, but things started to pick up shortly afterward.
Once Margot travels to her mother’s hometown and meets her grandmother, this is where things start to get exciting. Powers builds an intense, gritty, and downright creepy story that Margot must navigate on her own. There are vivid details of the ruins and desolate nature of the small, rundown town in which Margot finds herself, transporting the reader there with her. The description was incredible, and one of my favorite things about this book. We also meet plenty of new characters, but like Margot, we only get to know them on a superficial level. Although it is hinted that Margot is part of the LGBT community, the plot is never fully developed, and dropped rather quickly from the story (sometimes it was hinted at with one of the friends that Margot makes, but only as a passing thought, rather than as anything substantial).
It is really the last 20 percent of the book that becomes utterly phenomenal, and made the book worth reading. The whirlwind of mystery, suspense, and thrills come to a head at the end of the book, and for me personally, swept me off my feet. I did NOT see any of the events coming, and I loved it. You had the shock value, you had the climax, and you had your resolution. It would have been nice to see it paced out throughout the book a little, but I did end up enjoying how quickly things escalated.
Overall, I felt this was a decent book. I probably would have been ecstatic over it as a teenager, honestly. As an adult though, I would have liked to see more substantial character development, and better adjusted pacing. If you liked Wilder Girls, you will probably enjoy this one too though!
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.