ARC Review: “Burn Our Bodies Down” by Rory Power

I picked up an ARC from the publisher’s booth at the North Texas Teen Book Festival in March 2020.

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down
Author: Rory Power
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: July 7, 2020
Genre: Young adult, mystery
Length: 352 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.”

Um… Okay? I have so many questions and the main one is, “What’s happening?” To be honest I didn’t have much hope for this book because I didn’t care at all for Power’s Wilder Girls. I wanted to give the author another chance but I think I’m just going to set her on the back burner until something really catches my attention.

The back of the book describes the book as “another beautiful, twisted story or female awakening” and I just don’t get it? Like…everyone but maybe two people were horrible. Josephine really didn’t need to be a mom. She and Margot seem to emotionally abuse each other with no end in sight and it’s just…sad. Gram seemed to be okay with her daughter and granddaughter but everything really went to hell in a hand basket. We saw interpretations of Gram through a young Jo. History seemed to repeat itself and you wonder if Margot will be the same.

There also isn’t a strong conclusion to this book, something that Wilder Girls lacked too. Did Margot and her mom actually reconcile? No idea. I mean, yes the beginning of the book started out very thriller and creepy-like but then I just had a bunch of question marks running through my head the entire time and the answer was really…meh. I also struggled to see how exactly Tess fit into this picture and why things happened to her. I don’t think you can say this book has female empowerment when most, of not all, the female characters are pretty horrible.

You can purchase this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble (signed edition), Book Depository (U.K. edition), or find it at your local indie with IndieBound.

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