Cover Image: Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies Down

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This book kept me guessing until the end. I was close a few times. I love Rory’s books because she always keeps the reader on their toes.
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"I shouldn't have had to be strong. Not like that. I should have been able to break. Maybe one day all that strength can just be a gift my mother gave me, and not the tool I used to survive her. But I don't think it's today."


Margot only knows the family that is right in front of her. She lives a difficult life with her toxic mother in a run down apartment. Margot longs to know where she came from, and if there is a family out there that she belongs with that will wrap their arms around her in a way her mother has never been able to. She finds a picture of her mother in an old family Bible with a phone number and address. without much thought, she packs everything up and heads out to discover where she came from, but what she finds is not anything like she could have imagined.


	You guys, Burn Our Bodies Down was a lot. That cute little description above does not speak to the unending weirdness and uncooked intensity of this story. I read a similar synopsis the publisher provided and requested a copy. What I was prepared for was complicated family dynamics and a theme of "to know where you're going you have to know where you came from." The things I prepared for were in the story, but not in the way I expected. From the first chapter my immediate thoughts were "oh, this is way more intense than I expected." I kept reading and at about the 15% mark, I felt something that I believe only gifted writers can produce. I felt dread. I read Burn Our Bodies Down with a clenched fist of dread in my stomach. There were little things here and there that might have hinted at what was to come, but when an author can create impending doom using few to no context clues you know that you are in the hands of an author that understands the way atmospheric writing is structured. 

	Reading Burn Our Bodies Down felt like the ascent to the tip-top of a rollercoaster. You know that pause when you realize you are at the top? That realization of "wow I can see everything from up here" and then the "Oh no, we're about to drop off!" The next thing you know your stomach is in your throat and you just have to grip the rails and close your eyes. That Was this book. It was uncomfortable. I didn't even know if I wanted to find out what was going on, I just wanted my stomach to come out of my throat for a second. I think it is important to note that the discomfort of this book did not let up after the final page. All day I have been staring around my house thinking about the conclusion of Burn Our Bodies Down and realizing slowly that the actual dread of this book is the way Margot gets the answers that she needs to move on, but those answers have left her worse off. I felt that all over. I got to the end and read the author's acknowledgments hoping to GOD Power's would tell readers how on earth Margot is supposed to live her life knowing what she knows now. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE MY LIFE KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW RORY POWER? TELL ME PLEASE BUT PLEASE DON'T WRITE A SEQUEL BECAUSE I CANNOT GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN.


	This review might seem vague and that is because anything outside of the premise above is basically a spoiler. I don't want to spoil it for you, but also there are somethings you should know. This book is listed under the genre: Young Adult Mystery-Thriller and nope that is incorrect. I think because there is some graphic violence in here and because the ending is THE THINGS OF NIGHTMARES this should actually be listed under Young Adult Horror. Horror is not my jam. I don't read a lot of it because I do the brunt of my reading while either nursing a baby or tucked safely into my bed. I like sleeping at night and while I don't think this was too scary for me, I am glad I read the conclusion in the middle of the day surrounded by stuffed animals and my laughing children. If you decide to read this book let me know if you need a joyful child and a stuffed animal, I have plenty of both to loan out. 


Reviewer's note: This book was given to me by Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review.


You can find Burn Our Bodies Down on shelves July 7th!
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This is first horror that I've read. I started this on ebook and finished with an audiobook. It really helped to listen to the Nielsen story and not just read it. It is a family story and mystery I never saw coming, but one that was full of suspense and tension that I love to read every now and then. It made me want to read Wilder Girls even more than I already did from the reviews I've read.

Margot’s determination and the unraveling and reveal of secret after secret made me unable to put the book down once she got to Phalene. If you love mystery, suspense full of family secrets, pick up Burn Our Bodies Down and don't look back, but maybe behind you every once in awhile.
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One word for this book: strange.
It's a unique story! 
I recommend this one for Orphan Black fans and Lauren Oliver's Replica.
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This book is easily consumable. I found it easy to pick up and would get through whole chunks in a sitting because I was interested in the mystery of the main character's family. However, the conclusion left me with a lot of questions, a lot of fuzzy science explanations, and little satisfaction (exactly the same way the author's debut did.) I also fail to get absorbed in the atmosphere that I feel like gets promised with this author's novels in particular.
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This was everything I needed, everything I was expecting and dreamed. From the beginning I was hooked onto every single letter (words would be an understatement). I was thrilled, entertained and I just need more.
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2.5

I was very excited to be given an opportunity to read Rory Power's new book. I have not read Wilder Girls, but loved the premise of Burn Our Bodies Down.

I initially was intrigued, but quickly became bored. However, I still wanted to see what the family secret was. This is such a slow burn book that I felt didn't give much in the end. I had seen some instances that this was classified as Horror and it is definitely not that. Other times it's advertised as a Thriller and I wouldn't call it that either. It's a simple YA mystery. And by the time I got to the reveal I was left unimpressed. 

The writing is good. I was able to get through the entire book, but I was just overall disappointed.
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If you read Wilder Girls, you’ll definitely want to pick up Rory Power’s latest, Burn Our Bodies Down.  Seventeen year-old Margot is frustrated with her life. Her mother is distant and emotionally unavailable. They are always broke. Her past is a complete mystery that her mother refuses to reveal any details about. When she discovers an old bible of her mother’s with a mysterious note inside, she knows she must take any scrap of information and act on it. After discovering her grandmother lives not too far away, she hitchhikes to the family farm intent on learning her family’s history. All of those hopes go up in flames, literally, when she discovers the fields around her grandmother’s farm on fire. What is found in the flames will bring up old tragedies, unlock clues to the family’s tightly held secrets, and set Margot on a horrifying journey of self-discovery. 
This is a dark and creepy story filled with odd occurrences, small town gossip, and neighborly feuds that are all happening alongside forced civility and barely tolerable politeness. Margot is understandably very frustrated throughout this entire novel. No one will answer any of her questions with a straightforward answer. No one will believe her that she has zero understanding of her family’s history or knowledge of any past events. Her hopes of finding answers about her mother’s behavior are completely dashed when her grandmother is just as closed-mouthed and cryptic as her mother. 
This is one of the very tense and odd-feeling novels that just doesn’t feel right at any time. There’s that underlying feeling of uneasiness that makes you want to read faster and faster because you just have to know what’s coming next. I really enjoyed it and while I don’t think it lives up to Power’s first book, it’s still a solid horror story perfect for a YA audience. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title.  All opinions and mistakes are my own.
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Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the advance copy of this book!

5 STARS!!!!!   I loved this book. The atmosphere was everything I wanted it to be. I loved the plot and storyline in the book. I loved the characters in this story. It gave me all the feels I was looking for when I started reading this. I highly recommend this author. I loved the writing. I will be looking for other works in the future from this author.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. HOLY COW!!!! This book is so messed up, but in the best way possible. Margot knows her cold and distant mother is keeping secrets about their family and she wants to know why. So when she stumbles across her grandmother’s phone number she calls and ultimately flees to her. But she is no more forthcoming and weird things are happening. By the time Margot starts to figure it out her life is in danger. Crazy twists and turns. Kudos to Rory Power for her amazing imagination!
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Burn Our Bodies Down is unlike any book I have read before.  The characters, including secondary characters, were well developed and the story was unfolded in a deliciously creepy manner that kept me reading past bedtime.
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It's always been Margot and her mother, with no mention of family or whatever came before their rundown apartment. When she finds a photo pointing her to the town of Phalene, Margot rushes there to discover what home is like. There are secrets in the town, and now she feels like she might never escape.

There's a lot of mystery at the beginning that doesn't lessen in the first half of the book. Margot and her mother Josephine speak in cutting words and implied meaning at each other, a shorthand between the two of them. Margot wants a sense of family and history, especially with everyone else in her small town in Nebraska having that family. Josephine forbids it, but Margot takes off on her own to Phalene to see where she comes from. The truth was far more than I thought it would be, and quite the revelation that haunted me long after I put the book down.

It's interesting to see how Margot, Josephine, and Gram Vera Nielsen are all portrayed. They're sharp edges and mistrust, guilt and need, wanting and isolating at the same time. These aren't necessarily fun or happy people to be around, but they're fascinating and I can't help but want to know the story behind them as badly as Margot does. The sharpness had to come from somewhere, and what they don't say speaks volumes as much as what they do say. Their story is in the margins of their actions, each generation leaving off to the next to fix their mistakes.

I devoured this book quickly and felt bad for all of the characters involved. They are all flawed and trying the best that they can to survive in a world of whispers and unspoken pain. Sometimes, it really is up to the children to change that world for good.
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I was able to get an early copy of this book thanks to @netgalley 
I was immediately drawn to this because of the gorgeous cover. I’m a sucker for a good cover! 

I have to admit I was a bit confused with how I felt about the plot. It was very original and I honestly didn’t figure out the mystery like I normally do so it gets bonus points for that. 

Goodreads has this under YA horror so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It definitely had a creepy vibe (think Stephen King) but not too bad that I couldn’t sleep. 

I did like this book a lot! I think that if you love YA novels you need to pick this one up. I don’t want to give too much away and I suggest you just go in blind! It’s that good!
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A deliciously terrifying tale with serious pacing problems. This is my first time reading Power, and while I think the story ideas are incredibly strong, it felt like everything was unspooling and wrapping up at strange times. I rarely say this, but the first 3/4 could've been cut in half and I would've enjoyed BURN OUR BODIES DOWN so much more.
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2.5 stars

I really, really wanted to like this better than Wilder Girls, and in some ways it did work better for me - I was less distracted by issues with Power's sentence-level writing, for instance, which lead to an overall slightly better reading experience. And some of the things I really liked about Wilder Girls make a return, like creeps and body horror (though it's mostly at the end). But ultimately, this had similar structural problems and similar characterization problems as Wilder Girls. I love Rory Power's premises and I want more YA horror of this ilk, so I'm still hoping that I can love a future book, but this wasn't it.

The above paragraph has a representative balance of positives and negatives, but I do want to go over a few things that particularly bothered me which will skew the whole review to sound more negative but oh well: 
1. The pacing was off for me. The beginning of the book is intriguing enough with several questions set up, but the middle dragged (genuinely, nothing happens) until we finally picked up pace, only for reveals that I either predicted or found deeply unsatisfying. (view spoiler) [Seriously, it was all caused by a ~*~chemical~*~? (What kind of chemical? It sounds like a fertilizer, but one that somehow affects the genes of a plant to reproduce, even though that's not generally a problem that farmers need fixed?) And that ~*~chemical~*~ somehow induced a clone pregnancy in humans? Come on. I didn't expect a thoroughly convincing answer. I expected the answer to be handwave-y. But this felt both lazy and implausible. To be fair, this is an area of semi-expertise for me, so most people would probably not be as bothered by this, but if this isn't an area of interest for you, trust me, this was not it.] (hide spoiler)
2. Our main character, Margot, goes through at least four different emotional states in every other conversation. Some of that is well-adjusted human, and some of it is not-well-adjusted human, so I could imagine a writer convincing me of this quantity of rapid emotional shifts, but I wasn't convinced here.
3. I don't consider myself a particularly perceptive reader - I don't actively try to look for contradictions or come up with solutions - but there were several times when the text contradicted itself in the span of a few pages or even, once, in the very same paragraph. Maybe that's my fault as a reader, maybe I misread, but I think this needed another pass or two with fresh eyes.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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This book! Oh my goodness. 

The girls, the "gram", her mom. 
All of the girls. 
My mind is blown. 
I took this book slower so I wouldn't miss any details. Very good!
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Margot feels very alone. Her entire life has been with her mother … and no other family to speak of. Even her mother makes her feel alone, with a constant power struggle for even simple things. After Margot finds a picture leading her to a place called Phalene, she takes off without permission hoping to find out something about where she comes from. But there was a reason Margot’s mother left her home. What truths will Margot find out about her family tree? Why do other people know more about her past than she does?

Burn Our Bodies Down is a stand-alone novel that requires the readers to suspend their disbelief just a little bit. Power has created a story with many layers that readers will enjoy unraveling. I know that I thought I knew where the story was going and was pleasantly surprised when I was wrong. This would probably be considered 95% realistic fiction with about 5% supernatural. If that is not your thing, this is your warning. Burn Our Bodies Down has a good, firm ending and readers will close the book feeling like they know what needed to be known.
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This book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley for my honest review. Thank you. 

This was my first time reading anything by this author. Although knowing we came from the same state was fun at the end of the book.

On to the story.

Do you enjoy being gaslighted? Well if you do this book is for you! No seriously the first half of this book I felt gaslighted from the main characters perspective. No one in poor Margot life can be real with her. Any information she wanted is outright refused or a lie. I feel like a lot of research (at least I hope it's research and not lived experience, bc let's be honest dating in the 2000's to present is a blast, right?!) went into making the reader have the appropriate feel of gaslighting. As an individual with a two degrees in counseling (and plenty of lived experience) I'd say it is shown accurate. 

Despite trying to send me in other directions I still had a solid grasp on the end result halfway through reading. It's a bit of a weird SciFi twist, with a hint of a thriller. 

 I was hoping for a heartwarming Margot finds what's she's looking for ending. But it's kind of left hanging as a maybe and overall sad resolution.

Would I recommended it I suppose. I didn't hate it but I also didn't love it. You be the judge.
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I was so excited to read this book because I highly enjoyed Ms. Power's last book "Wilder Girls." This is definetly nothing like I expected, and I still can't decide if that's a good or bad thing.  The book started slowly and it was building my interest, but by the middle I found my mind wandering and not really interested in the plot anymore, I just wanted answers. I wasn't immersed in the story though.  Many times I found myself at the end of a chapter and I couldn't even remember what I'd just been reading.  When I finally got the answers I was disappointed and confused.  Still a decent book, but not one I'd read again.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"Keep a fire burning; a fire is what saves you."

It has always been just Margot and her mother Jo. Margot knows nothing of her father, her mother's past or her family history. She also doesnt know why her mother looks more like her twin sister then her mother. They are nearly identical other then a scar her mother has on her face.

"But you learn quick when you're Jo Nielsen's daughter. It's answers or her and you'll only ever get one of them, so you'd betterbe careful deciding which it is."

Margot finds a picture in some of her mother's old stuff. On it a phone number, and short message written by her grandmother. She jumps at the chance to learn more about her mother and the family she knows nothing about. 

I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it other than it was written by the author of Wilder Girls. It drew me in from page one. The writting and storytelling were great. The story kept me guessing the whole time, giving small pieces of info at the right time, and makes you second guess everything you thought was going on. 

I talked to my family about the story and bounced ideas off of them trying to figure it out. Everytime I thought I had it figured out I would get new information that made it all fall apart and I was back at the beginning trying to make all the pieces fit together. 

It's a fun quick read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Wilder Girls.
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