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Review: Burning

Burning - Danielle  Rollins

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Different and intriguing. My initial worry with this one was it would be too similar to Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us which was also a paranormal mystery with a juvenile detention centre setting. Pleased to say this one was very very different. The story focuses on Angela who is counting down the days to her release from the detention centre when a strange new Doctor comes in with what appears to be a new opportunity for getting the girls into a science based programme. There's also a strange new inmate - a little girl named Jessica who appears to be very weird and dangerous. No one really knows anything other than rumours. Angela's brief encounter with the girl was not a pleasant one.

The new Doctor, Dr Gruen knows there is something off about Jessica and claims that her group SciGirls is in a position to help and if Angela can get close to Jessica, Dr Gruen can make things run more smoothly for her. Simple enough. Jessica is a very intriguing character. Clearly a very scared little girl and you want to know what she did - it's clear she has some abormal ability to do with fire. Is she as scary as everyone is making out?

The more Angela gets to know Jessica, the more things start changing in the prison facility. It's a hard one to go into detail for without being too spoilery. But everything revolves around Dr Gruen's SciGirls programme. Some changes appear to be good, others for lack of a better phrase - not so good. A lot of Dr Gruen pushing Angela in regards to finding out something from Jessica, the little girl.

It was certainly very atmospheric, very creepy and very compelling in its narrative even if the plot was getting weirder and more twistier by the second. Excellently written, though Jessica and Angela seemed to be the only ones with a lot of character depth. A couple of the side characters, Angela's two roommates and friends had some interesting background stories, but there seemed very little elaboration on anyone else. They were just there for the purposes of forwarding the plot. Though granted, even though it was a juvenile detention centre the main characters (apart from Dr Gruen) and Angela's friends were actually pretty likeable characters, even though they were criminals and bad girls. You want them to come out of the mess unscathed and okay.

The end was a bit weird and felt a bit rushed, that being said, the style of the storytelling was pretty consistent with the rest of the story.

Certainly a fun creepy read with an interesting take on a paranormal theme.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.