Author: Danielle Rollins
Genre: contemporary, horror
Published: April 5 2016
Source: publishers for review
After three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she'll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl's arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?
Advertised as a creepy Orange in the New Black for YA, Burning boasts an interesting and promising premise but hosts a flawed execution for those ideas. Part contemporary novel and part slow-building horror story, I was intrigued from the first chapter but my hopes were quickly dismayed as the story progressed into darker and less concrete territory. Rollins tries to build a creepy atmosphere through unexplained events, unnatural incidents and more, but so much of this novel was a miss.
I didn't care about Angela. I wanted to, but she is inconsistent and frustrating as a narrator. I was the most interested in Jessica, but also found her characterization somewhat stunted. The villain was cartoonish and laughable. Alongside my complete lack of investment in any of the characters named in Burning, there are many errors in the book, though admittedly I read an ARC version. But these are errors that dealt with continuity, the plot's timeline, and more. It added up to a sloppy feel to the novel's already struggling execution.
This was a novel I was sorely tempted to DNF, but was reeled back in again and again by my curiosity to know the endgame. Having fought my way through those 352 pages, I can't say the effort was worth it. Horror is not my favorite genre, but I prefer a more polished approach with more developed characters and antagonists.