Patrick Ness

Twice Carnegie-award winning Patrick Ness’s new book Burn is a spectacular novel encompassing dragons, the FBI, parallel worlds, fanaticism and teenagers caught on very different sides of the story.

Set in America in the 1950’s with a backdrop of the tensions of the cold war, the story opens with Sarah Dewhurst and her father waiting to meet Kazimir, a blue dragon, who her father has employed to help on the farm. Meanwhile, FBI agents are moving from Canada across the border to find fanatical cult members, of which Sarah seems to be at its centre.

This novel has film-like qualities: the skies are big, the plot twists and turns and the action is both hard-hitting and quite astonishing. There is an emotional balance, however, as the teenagers begin relationships and experience grief as well as first love; the pain, confusion and bewilderment Sarah comes to experience will strike a chord with readers who themselves have lived through painful times. By the end the reader is left with the feeling that they have experienced something quite vast and somewhat indescribable. It is superb (as is the audio book) and will be an excellent addition to a secondary reader’s bookshelf.

Published by Walker Books

What young people think:

Review from Y10 pupil at Sacred Heart RC Academy, Redcar.
As well as it being a really fun story about Dragons we get a book that is written in 1950’s America and we get to see where the Cold War is set. There are lots of incidents of racism and being gay can be seen as a crime in some places. We see Sarah having to deal with racism mainly from the town Deputy. We can also see how LGBTQ people were really badly treated just for being themselves and this still happens in some places unfortunately. Personally, this makes me angry with them because it isn’t fair for the people that are LGBTQ. They shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other person in this world. There is nothing wrong with it and I think that the author (Patrick Ness) has dealt with these issues very well. This was a really fun book to read that also deals with some very big problems and a storyline that will keep you guessing what might happen next all the way through the book. I have enjoyed reading this book very much and I would recommend it for other people to read this book as well. I’d rate this book 5/5 because I have really enjoyed it. The characters were also very interesting.

Review by Y8 pupil at Kempston Challenger Academy, MK42 7EB
The book Burn by Patrick Ness, is amazing. Well it is better than that. It is one of the top 5 books that I have ever read (I have read well over 500).
The twists and turns that it contains with, the teenage assassin Malcom of who discovers being gay does not matter and makes his alternate dimension self (Hugo) know that too.
Then with the deaths of family and friends, and people I thought would have a better ending. Then because of war in their dimension Sarah gets to live with both her dead parents, who did not die of bullets and cancer due to this being another dimension.
And love is given another chance for 3 different people.
I would happily give this book 10 out of 5 stars, because it is that good.

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton