Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Burn Our Bodies Down [review]

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
To be published by Delacorte Press on July 7, 2020
my rating: ★★★★ (4)
Goodreads avg: 
4.13 (as of 2020-06-22)
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own. Quotes have been taken from the advanced copy and are subject to change upon publication.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

It’s about time love left a mark on me.

Okay, I really liked this. While I enjoyed Power’s debut, Wilder Girls, I feel like she really hit her stride here. I found myself drawn into Burn Our Bodies Down almost immediately. Margot came to life for me right away and I was so invested in her story and where it would go. The mystery was soo twisted and I was constantly on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. And I was absolutely wrong at every turn. My only problem was really some inconsistencies I’m sure will be ironed out in the final copy.

I never got good at recognizing attraction in other girls–it took me long enough to recognize it in myself, and even longer to say “lesbian,” without blushing.

I also love the queer rep in this; the main character is a lesbian and while there is no romance she has that little “do I want to be friends with her or do I want to kiss her” struggle that I think most wlw experience when they meet another woman they’re drawn to. I’m glad a romance wasn’t shoehorned in here; I feel like it would have been out of place in the story considering what’s going on.

Overall, this book is soooo good and I’ll definitely be recommending it in the future!

content warnings: Fire. Emotional abuse by a parent, including gaslighting. Familial and generational abuse. Body horror, some gore, blood (lighter, relative to Wilder Girls). Death. On page character death. Child/infant death (takes place off page but implied violence – pages 301 and 308 in the print ARC). Off-page gun violence. Emesis (mention of vomiting). (I removed one cw that I felt was a spoiler, but you can click the link for a more comprehensive list from the author that she will be updating as she receives feedback!)

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Wilder Girls [review]

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Published by Delacorte Press on July 9, 2019
my rating: ★★★★
Goodreads avg: 
3.87 (as of 2019-07-28)
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Wilder Girls thrusts you into the midst of an epidemic unlike any you will have encountered before. The story is centered around a group of three friends who have all fallen prey to the Tox, which has overtaken their boarding school as well as the island it sits upon. Many lives have been claimed by the Tox, both students and teachers alike. The girls have become quite accustomed to the situation, and seem to have accepted their fates.

Part of what I adored was how original the Tox was. I think we’ve seen plenty of sci-fi stories focusing on diseases, but Wilder Girls took this to a whole other level. We aren’t fed much info about the plague, which makes it feel quite mysterious, but its result is a whole lot of body horror that plays out differently in each girl. And believe me when I say it is a LOT of body horror. This book is really not for the faint of heart.

At first I had a bit of trouble discerning the differences between the characters themselves. It took me quite a bit to become attached to them and their relationships. The three girls at the center of the book kind of blurred together in my mind until about a third through. Luckily, I felt this issue was resolved and came to love them all in their own ways.

Also, believe the hype when it comes to how queer this book is. Hetty, one of the POV characters, is bi/pan/queer (she mentions liking both boys and girls, but no label) and Reese, another one of the characters, self-identifies as queer. Byatt, the third in the trio, doesn’t have her sexuality mentioned at all as far as I remember. There is a f/f romance that is not the focus of the story at all, but was very cute and did add a lot!

Overall, I think this was just a lovely sapphic YA horror novel that gave off some serious Annihilation vibes. If any of that sounds interesting to you, you’ll probably adore it. While I’d love a sequel (or a spinoff?), I do think the ending left things tied up quite nicely. I’m impressed by this debut novel and am quite excited to see what Rory Power puts out next!

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