Burn Our Bodies Down
by Rory Power
Narrated by Lauren Ezzo
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Pub Date 07 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 01 Sep 2020
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown … where history has a tendency to repeat itself.
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.
A Note From the Publisher
Praise for Burn Our Bodies Down:
“Wow this was amazing. Rory Power does it again! Burn Our Bodies Down is a masterpiece: an incredible and unnerving mystery that will creep up on you, twisty and labyrinthine, like the eerie cornfields of its setting.”
—Holly Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
“With this bloodcurdling blend of agriculture, advanced genetics, and interpersonal turmoil, Rory Power reminds us that seemingly disparate things in life can come together in horrifying ways. I will keep a candle lit after this one.”
—Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
“Rory Power’s prose hits like a lightning strike in this deliriously creepy tale, the kind of slow-crawling horror that’ll keep your nightmares up at night.”
—Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
★ “Gritty and strange, this sophomore novel is utterly compelling.”
—Booklist, starred review
★ “Creates a vivid world with a gothic horror–like setting…. A riveting, often frightening read.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Strong, suspenseful writing and pitch-perfect touches of horror." —Shelf Awareness
|DURATION||10 Hours, 16 Minutes|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 157 members
Loving this book was not surprising for me. I enjoyed Wilder Girls, but I will say that this book...this book was way better. It had purpose, the plot was driven by phenomenal characters, and it had a sense of brilliance that built over time through Power’s melodic writing style.
The story is about a young woman who is fed up with her mother’s emotional abuse and secret keeping. She sets out to find her extended family, something her mother keeps from her at all costs...until she’s had enough. When she arrives at the town her mother grew up in, she comes across a dead body—one that looks just like her. This is where the mystery begins.
Power’s slow-burn writing style was extremely effective for this story and really put a lot of the metaphors she was alluding to in perspective. The idea of complex generational trauma was explored through the conflict that Margot, her mother, and Gram experienced with one another. This book also showed how family dysfunction can stem from a lack of insight and ability to communicate effectively. Sometimes you just wanted to shake the characters and say, “TELL THE TRUTH!” It was hard watching Margot experience passive aggression and emotional abuse from people in her life that were supposed to love her unconditionally. Margot was such a resilient character who learns overtime to set boundaries, especially complicated boundaries with your loved ones! And finally, the horror and thriller elements that Power used led the story into a stronger, more interesting narrative—which really pulls the reader into the mystery behind what the actually f**k is going on. I was on the edge of my seat at times, because the anticipation of what was going to come out at the ending was really exciting for me.
Overall, I loved this book so much. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that I could psychoanalyze and have fun with.
Also before I go: I listened to the audiobook. Lauren Ezzo is a GODDESS! Great job Blackstone Audio!! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving us this audiobook in exchange for an honest review!
Four stars for Burn Our Bodies Down!
I was hooked right at the beginning because the MC’s mother reminded me so much of my own - a specific set of psychological issues that are rare to find in books because they’re hard to explain. I immediately identified with Margot and the story grips you from the beginning. Family drama isn’t usually my forte, but I was so curious about her mysterious family and her weird circumstances that I flew through this to find out what the secret behind this family farm was. Boy oh boy, I was not disappointed. The ending was surprising and interesting, and although just a tad too ambiguous for me, I really enjoyed the book overall. My only major problem was with the audiobook itself — it echoed so badly that it took me awhile to get used to that. But the book was great and I’ll definitely be getting my hands on a hard copy!
This was a hauntingly beautiful thriller with a lot of shocking twists. Margot always feels her relationship with her mother is a bit off, so she goes to seek her roots based on a clue she finds in an old Bible. When she goes to visit her Gram, things go more awry by the minute. Family secrets, frustration, teen angst... I did not foresee the conclusion. Thank you for the ARC, Netgalley.
This book is definitely for fans of Rory Power's previous book, Wilder Girls, as much of it felt very reminiscent in tone and pace. As many other reviewers have noted, none of the characters are terribly likable. In fact, they are all so damaged and damaging that it occasionally makes reading about them a bit exasperating. That said, I personally found the honest and complicated portrayal of their relationships refreshing and made everything especially worthwhile. I cannot exactly say I enjoyed the ending but I very appreciated it and am glad I went along for the ride. It's worth the read/listen if this is your type of book.
Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as WILDER GIRLS, I still found this to be a great read. Rory Power is fantastic at creating an unsettling and eerie atmosphere in her books, and BURN OUR BODIES DOWN was no exception. I also really appreciated how the main character is queer, yet this book is not about romantic relationships. We need more YA novels that showcase characters of all backgrounds and identities whose first priority is not a romantic entanglement. I should also note that I read this one via audiobook format, and I highly recommend reading it this way. The narrator was perfect -- really set the tone for a spooky story!
Rory Power is a knockout author. Her debut novel,The Wilder Girls, is a creepy, atmospheric tale, that was a bestseller with my students in 2019. I could not keep enough copies on hand. With Burn Our Bodies Down, Powers has done it again.
Margot, the 17 year old central character, knows nothing about her past. For Margot, her whole world revolves around her mother Josephine. Margot and Josephine are hiding, but from what? As Margot goes in search of family and a past, the twisting tale provides moments of fear, doubt and intrigue to hook the reader. Margot's family past is more shocking that even she can fathom. This story will stay with the reader.
My teen readers will devour this book.
Burn Our Bodies Down it's my first Rory Power book. I have heard it's less weird than her first, but let me tell you, it's still very weird.
The book follows Margot who is living in a small town with her mother who she has a very bad relationship with. Her mother is neglectful and emotionally abusive and has been keeping Margot away from her family. Margot finds information about her grandmother and after a bad argument runs off to live with her grandmother. We follow her as she delves into the secrets of her families past and what that means for her now.
This book is expectantly dark and eerie. There are in particular a couple of body horror scenes that are fantastically written and utterly disturbing. But the book can at times be almost too real especially with the elements of gaslighting and emotional abuse. I don't have a major history of that but it was still very difficult to read at times. On the same note, Margot reads like an abuse victim. She doubts her own memory, and she is desperate for any approval anyone will give her. This is realistic, but very difficult if it's in anyway reminiscent of your past.
If these are things that will not bother you, then I think the book is an entertaining wild ride. I guessed part of the reveal pretty early but that didn't ruin the book for me. The other part was too weird for me to get to on my own even when the book was explicitly leading me there. The build up to the reveal was well done. I think how the book ended makes a lot of sense. This book wasn't life changing for me, but I enjoyed it and think others could too. Thanks to Netgalley to providing this in exchange for a honest review!
This was such an interesting read.
Burn Our Bodies Down is my first Rory Power and it was really surprising. I don't read as much YA as I used to, but the thought of YA Horror was very appealing to me and that's why I requested the audiobook from NetGalley.
This starts with Margot living with her mother, and they have an unstable relationship. When Margot discovers that she has a grandmother, she escapes town and goes to her grandma's farm. Coincidentally, the plantation is burning when Margot gets there and she finds a body amongst the flames. The story kicks off from there.
I had a bit of a problem with the writing of this book: it is very descriptive in every way, from the scenario to the main character's emotions. But I just wasn't feeling it: it was a lot of family drama and it became repetitive fast, especially since the audiobook narrator was intense every time that Margot was getting emotional (and she was angry for most of the book). But the ending of this: WOW. I did not expect that plot twist at all, everything came full circle and I just admire Rory Power's creativity.
If you like your YA totally twisted and disturbing, here's a good one!
Fans of Power's debut 'Wilder Girls' will not disappointed with her latest 'Burn Our Bodies Down.' While 'Burn Our Bodies Down' has less of a science fiction feel with its chemical impacts, it will create no less terror and revolution than her first book. Following Margo to her ancestral home, readers are taken on a wild ride to learn to why Margo's mother left in the first place, the identity of the body she finds during a fire, and how those two stories converge. Like Margo, the reader knows something is off but it's not till the end that the cards are all laid out and the truth comes to bear. Lauren Ezzo captures the essence of an angry and lost teenage girl who is desperate for any sort of connection in the world. Ezzo's narrative in tandem with Power's writing will keep you on the edge of the seat till the credits literally start rolling.
Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for providing an earlier copy of this book to review. Everything is my opinion and my opinion alone.
This was going to be a three star, but I just loved that ending. The last few chapters of the book really are just the exact kind of creepy a girl needs. When I started the book, I felt like the MC was just being really dramatic without any backstory to back-up her feelings. She didn't have a good relationship with her mom at all, but we didn't spend a lot of time on that and so it felt kind of pushed. But like... gah, that whole ending of the book was CRAZY and I enjoyed it so much. I honestly think Rory writes such creepy-good books!
This time I read (listened) to the book in audiobook format, and it just enhanced the experience. The audiobook narrator was amazing, and her voice fit so well with Margot’s character, and she gave the book so much more life. One of my favorite things about reading in this format was how you could hear the anger in the narrator’s voice, especially nearing the last few chapters Margot found out the truth about her family, and it made it seem so much more
It wasn't long into the book before I was hooked. Immediately, the reader realizes there is something odd about Margot's mother - she is hiding something. And the reader will realize it's too good to be true that Margot will find what she is looking for from her grandmother. What she finds when she arrives in town blew me away. A student who is looking for a good mystery/thriller will enjoy this book. While I was not a fan of the ending, it was a good ride!
That was a really weird story but then again Ms. Power's did write it and she seems to have the oddest imagination I can think of. I can say that at first I was on the short stick of this being a book I wanted to finish, a bit slow but now that I think back to it, it was the loose ends to the ending. Which is kinda backwards but in a good way. There is no way to describe this story without giving anything away so I won't, Just go and read it yourself.
Oh and yes I can not tell you how much I loved the Narration on this book. The inflections in her voice were spot on. I had feelings of being overwhelmed, angered and scared. Great job
This novel was intense: intensely suspenseful. I listened to this as an audiobook and it was hard to take my earbuds out as I was trying to figure out/solve the mystery before it was revealed by the author. I am usually pretty great at picking out the who dun it, the why it was dun and other details of a mystery/thriller (dun dun dun.... duuuuuun) long before its grand reveal; however, the why in this novel was not what I was expecting and there was a little more violence than I was expecting too. It defiantly gets more twisted than the weird corn on the cob by the end of the story. If you're into thrillers and mysteries, this one will keep you on your toes.
Basic synopsis: Margot and her mom have issues. Her mom NEVER speaks about her past or her family. Jo punishes herself by living meagerly and never builds a relationship with her own daughter. Margot gets fed up with her mom's lack of warmth toward her and her secretive past. Unintentionally, she finds a clue to her past and she seizes on it to get to know the one other family member out there: Gram. Margot embarks on a quest to find her gram and discover her past. However, some bridges should remain burned... and some bodies should be left buried. If magical vegetation was a genre, Rory Powers would be the master of it. Powers makes it spooky how realistic it is for nature and plants to turn against humanity and reclaim the earth.
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Representation: Lesbian MC, single mother
Trigger warnings can be found at the end of this review.
If you want atmospheric, tension-building horror and family secrets - this is your book.
I went into the book a little biased; I adored Power's debut book, Wilder Girls . And I was not disappointed in the slightest.
This is a story that revolves around the secrets of Margot's family, which she has never known. After discovering more lies and hidden family, Margot leaves the unstable environment with her single mother to find some answers. Which - of course - leads to a whole world of problems.
The story is dark and grisly, secretive and gory at times.Power writes a story that is shocking and will keep you guessing until the end.
"I will always wish I were hers, and I will always want to be only my own. I haven’t found a way yet to make the two fit.”
The characters as well are fantastically well-written. Margot, herself, has a great amount of depth as she struggles to find her place within her strange family. The dynamics explored with acquaintances/friend, Teresa, was brilliant and didn't feel forced or flat. And the gay rep! We love a book that makes someone's sexuality REAL without having to make it a core concept in the story.
My one disappointment was the ending wasn't everything for me. I liked it fine enough, but I felt it fell a little flat compared to the development in the rest of the story.
The audio narration for this book was spot on. I could not fault it if I tried - the narration was gripping and emotional from start to finish.
Absolutely check this book out if it sounds like your style. This is exactly the sort of horror I want more of in the YA sphere and Power just keeps on giving!
Trigger warnings: fire, emotional abuse, body gore, runaway child, death, child/infant death, gun violence (off-the-page), vomiting
This was a slow creeping burn of a story! Th imagery of fire extends through every chapter of the book, I am glad that it all culminates with a fire in the end.
Margot knows her mother has secrets, she learned at a young age that she did not want to share anything about Margot's father or grandparents, so what does nay child do when told "No" to a mystery? she sets out to find the answers herself. She stumbles upon an old bible of her mother's which leads her to her grandmother and even more mysteries and secrets.
Margot works hard with a new friend to unravel her family's dark secrets in a small town where it seems nothing CAN be kept secret. except from her.
Fans of Goosbumps and Steven King will enjoy the creeping of this story.
The narrator had lots of emotion where necessary and her voice and tones kept the listener in a state of expectancy that comes along with all good horror movies.
My first Rory Power book and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Thank you Netgalley for providing me with the audiobook for this review.
I really enjoyed two specific aspects of this book:
1. Morally grey characters! You don’t know who to trust... even the narrator at times. You felt for Margot and her torn relationship with her family, you detest her withdrawn mother and don’t trust her grandmother. The relationships she had/didn’t have with her family made me sad but also more intrigued to see why they have such issues lol!!
2. I also found this book very similar to Sawkill Girls by Claire Legard which made me love it even more! Sawkill is one of my all time favourite books and this has exactly the same vibes!
I would recommend this to teens and new adult who like thriller/mysteries and contemporary books