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.
Title: Burn Our Bodies Down
By: Rory Powers
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Published By: DelaCorte Press, MacMillan Children’s Books, & Blackstone Publishing [audiobook]
Page Count: 352
Format: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, eBook, & Audiobook
[These are directly from Rory’s Website]
Emotional abuse by a parent, including gaslighting. Familial and generational abuse.
Nonconsensual pregnancy – note, no sexual assault or rape.
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)
Firstly, right from page one Power makes you uneasy. The plot has barely surfaced and yet the feeling that something is not right begins to crawl across you. This unease and dread are cultivated by Power, growing until you reach the climax of the novel which leaves you feeling the full weight of the consequences that led to it. Not to mention you’re finally rewarded with why you’ve felt such dread for so long.
So A+++ for the creepy vibe!
Seriously, I went and read this in my room with the curtains drawn and it was the perfect way to read this creepy book, I’m thinking Halloween reread, it’s such perfection.
This isn’t the body horror and dystopia-esque of Wilder Girls, instead, Power brings you to a small town that may have come out of a dream about Children of the Corn and intensifies the desolation and horror within the small town.
There are memorable characters in this small town, and perhaps the most memorable of all is Margot’s grandmother.
Margot travelled to Phalene after finally tiring of the years her mother has kept her in the dark about their family. She wants answers but more than anything else Margot wants a family, the relationship between her and her mother is not just complicated, it’s toxic, her mother unable to give love properly or care for another and there’s no father, even just the question of who he is can spiral Margot’s mother’s anger and discomfort.
So now that Margot has found Phalene and family, everything should be better, but instead, she’s left with more questions every day and this sense that whatever is being hidden is something that she only cannot ignore but may hold answers to questions.
Margot arrived to a fire on the family farm, a mysterious body, and the sense that something isn’t right.
The whole town knows there’s something wrong with the family, they just never figured out what, but there’s one thing that’s clear, those girls are trouble no matter what generation and they are keen to be free of them. Unfortunately for the townspeople, the roots for Margot’s family grow deep in Phalene.
I can’t explain how creepy and wonderful this book was, I rooted for Margot from the start, I loved the friendship she made with the girl next door and the fact that she didn’t let her desire for family wipe out her desire for answers. Not to mention she’s so much stronger than she gives herself credit for, seriously, such a fantastic MC!
I also enjoyed the examination of the relationship between her and her mother, her mother and her grandmother, and Margot and her grandmother.
Power’s writing style is as fluid as before and the pacing was slow to start, the part ‘before Phalene’ as I’ll refer to it, BUT this part was necessary, we needed to understand Margot’s relationship with her Mom and the behaviour of her mom, this all comes into play later and explains Margot’s need for family and why it drives her so much once she gets to Phalene.
Power once more gets to dangle hope and answers in front of you like a carrot on a string and I gladly chased after that carrot until the ending.
And luckily for me, this was a more satisfying and closure filled ending than Wilder Girls [though I adored that ending as well lol]. She’s an expert of creepy novels, it’s been 2/2 wins for me on her two books thus far.
5/5 Cups of coffee from me!! Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my opinion.
About the Author
Rory Power grew up in New England, where she lives and works as a crime fiction editor and story consultant for TV adaptation. She received a Masters in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia, and thinks fondly of her time there, partially because she learned a lot but mostly because there were a ton of bunnies on campus.
Wilder Girls, a New York Times bestseller, is her first novel. Burn Our Bodies Down will publish in July of 2020. She is represented by Daisy Parente at Lutyens & Rubinstein, and Kim Witherspoon and Jessica Mileo at InkWell Management.