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Burn Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Cameron, a high school freshman, becomes an easy target for the varsity bullies after a chance comment by a coach who notices his short stature and long hair from behind and directs him to the girls' gym. As the taunts of "gay" or "fag" drive most of his friends away, Cameron's anger escalates. When he is assaulted in the locker room and photos of his nude body are posted on the Internet, he begins to break down and his desire to retaliate is explosive. Only his mother's boyfriend, a police officer, is able to understand the post-traumatic stress disorder that Cam is experiencing and offer practical though unwanted support. This is an intense story with brutal descriptions of the abuse Cameron suffers. Phillips provides just enough nuanced details of sexual assault and violence yet masterfully avoids sensationalism. While Burn lacks the eloquence of Nancy Garden's Endgame (Harcourt, 2006) and the broad perspective of Walter Dean Myers's Shooter (HarperCollins, 2004), it instead approaches the inner turmoil of the victim's "real time" during the taunting, humiliation, revenge, and remorse. As Cam's emotional state deteriorates, fantasy and reality blur, effectively conveying his pain and confusion. Reluctant readers will appreciate the fast pace of the book as the disturbing plot unfolds with short day-to-day vignettes. There is understanding to be gained for everyone who reads this timely title.—Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School, Livonia, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Suzanne Phillips is a special education English teacher in San Diego, California, and her debut novel Chloe Doe, was on our Spring 2007 list. She describes BURN as "A look inside the mind of a young man who is moved to kill a classmate." She says of this project, "I believe, as someone in the trenches daily, that America needs a little shaking up."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316001651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316001656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,305,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ami Hassler on November 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cameron Grady is a loner, and with good reason. His freshman year has just been one misery after another ever since he went to the school's sports orientation night and the coach thought he was a girl. Now he's known as Cameron Diaz and forced to "map out his day with survival being the only objective." But there's physical and mental survival, and after an incident in the boys' locker room, Cameron's psyche doesn't survive, and he commits an unspeakable act against the boy who witnessed his shame.

This is a hard novel to write about. Not because it isn't powerful and challenging, but because it is so utterly terrifying. It's a middle of the night, one-sitting sort of book. It's completely realistic, but you wish it weren't. I want to feel great compassion for Cameron Grady, but I'm not sure he deserves my compassion. How can a character be both the hero and the villain? This is the balance beam that Suzanne Phillips has her readers walk. Burn, along with Living Dead Girl and Freeze Frame, will probably be amongst the most talked about literature of the season.

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Format: Hardcover
"You're ours Grady.....This is just the beginning."

The horrors of high school are real; just ask Cameron Grady.

Freshman year at Madison High School has been the most miserable experience of Cameron's life. The bullying begins the first day of class. Rich Patterson and the rest of his jock friends zero in their radar and Cameron becomes #1 on their hit list.

The "Red Coats" taunt Cameron, calling him Cameron Diaz and stalking him in the hallways. High school becomes a war zone for Grady. The lines between reality and fiction begin to blur, and Cameron finds himself "checking out" from time to time. Cameron also begins to experiment with fire; an obsession that proves to be dangerous.

Unlike most stories, Cameron's does not have a happy ending, but it's real - it's life. Life is not always full of happy endings.

Suzanne Phillips has created a gripping novel that discusses extremely tough issues. Cameron deals with both physical and sexual abuse, bullying, and post-traumatic stress. Many teenagers may be unfamiliar with post-traumatic stress disorder, and this novel does an excellent job of shedding some light on the subject.

BURN is a well-written story that may be difficult to read at times, but the message is clear. Teenagers face hardships on a daily basis. These problems can range from getting into a fight with their parents to being subjected to some kind of abuse. They all want someone they can confide in - Cameron finds that person, but it's a little too late for him.

Reviewed by: LadyJay
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By Tina on February 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In one word - wow!!!

Burn, written by Suzanne Phillips is one of the most timely books I have read in recent years. Although I don't have children in school, I have heard some absolute horror stories about students bullying and being bullied - it has become epidemic in some schools!

Of course, living in Montreal - the land of school killings - unfortunately, this subject matter was very close to my heart.

I instantly felt both sadness and horror for our main character who has been targeted by the "Red Coats" as being an easy prey to bully. True to reality, Cameron keeps it all inside - and begins to slowly but surely disintegrates - until he ends up no longer living in the present.

As he disassociates more and more, he ends up committing the ultimate act.

Burn is written in a sensitive, but yet realistic voice - truly echoing the pain and horror that everyone involves experiences.

The author makes sure to portray all of the sides of Cameron and slowly guides us through his psychotic break. As I mentioned, I felt sorry for him, but I also hated what he did.

It must be very difficult for an author to write this type of book - the main character is far from being a hero or sympathetic - yet, all of the characters and the plot work extremely well together.

I loved this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Meet Cameron, he's a runner, a math wiz, and the victim. Due to one incident and mistake made by a teacher, his life in high school is horrible. He's teased, tormented and beat up regularly. This story is told by him and the author did a great job of making the reader love him. This is a very sad story that is more and more common. Cameron is the weak and Patterson is the strong. His grades will go downhill, his "best friend" leaves him stranded, and he soon discovers that he's disconnecting. It doesn't take long before he starts thinking of revenge. When it happens though, it's not against the monster that's been terrifying him for the entire year.

I was so hoping Cameron would get his revenge on the bully and was disappointed that he didn't. However, after living his life with him, I don't hold any ill will against him or his actions. This kid was hurting and bullies like the one he was dealing with should all be removed forcibly. It was great to see that no adult ever seemed to notice that Cameron needed help more than he needed scolding. Where exactly were all the adult figures when he was getting beaten daily? Why didn't his mother try harder to find out what was wrong.

Great book, sad story, and a page turner. I read it in a day.
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