- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Diversion Books (March 20, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1635761948
- ISBN-13: 978-1635761948
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Burro Hills Paperback – March 20, 2018
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"Rubin's gritty coming-of-age story has a strong sense of place and taut suspense. I was rooting hard for Jack and Connor from the get-go; you will, too." ―Kim Savage, author of After the Woods and In Her Skin
"Gritty and atmospheric, suffused with an acute consciousness of place and class, Burro Hills is a powerfully written novel about speaking your truth and finding your way in a dead-end town." ―Margot Harrison, author of The Killer in Me
"Julia Lynn Rubin crafts Jack's journey of self discovery with pitch-perfect dialogue and page-turning tension. Rife with dysfunctional families and complicated romance, Burro Hills is a vivid portrait of one teen's search for acceptance." ―Gillian French, author of The Lies They Tell
"Burro Hills is pure grit and heart. It has everything my reckless teenage self would have wanted (needed) from a book. Jack is the best friend I had in high school, and Burro Hills is the town I desperately wanted to leave. This struck deep in my guts and will resonate for quite some time. Brave, bold, wild and honest." ―Bonnie Pipkin, author of Aftercare Instructions
"A dark, disturbing, romantic, riveting debut novel that dives deep into the broken-down working class world of a small California town and its high school teens-stoners and skateboarders lead this brave story of sexual awakening, and love, among boys at the precipice of adulthood. I particularly admire Rubin's choice to tell the story solely from Jack's point of view, delving into his dysfunctional family life, his desires for something more, and his poignant realizations about his own sexuality. Burro Hills is a page-turning story of one young man's courage to know himself. Last thought: Rubin's novel reminded me of Tobias Wolff's classic, This Boy's Life, another Jack, in another time, but just as poignant." ―Caroline Bock, author of Lie and Before My Eyes
"Julia Lynn Rubin draws beautifully complicated characters and an utterly convincing world. This book is gritty, unflinching and full of heart." ―Meredith Miller, author of Little Wrecks
"With echoes of Francesca Lia Block and S.E. Hinton, Burro Hills feels like a fever dream: dark, dangerous, but full of beauty so raw it hurts. Jack and Connor have all of my heart, and so does Julia Lynn Rubin." ―Rebecca Christiansen, author of Maybe in Paris
"With raw intensity and complex characters, Rubin opens a world of emotions that will resonate with readers." ―Jessica Kapp, author of Body Parts
"Gritty and utterly addicting, Burro Hills hooked me from the start. It's an absolutely stunning debut from Julia Lynn Rubin, and this is one book you'll be reading (and re-reading) for ages. Honestly, I read it in *two hours*, and I'm not even sorry." ―Jandra Sutton, author of Fragile
"Rubin's writing is vivid and exciting. I was hooked on Jack from beginning to end. Set in a flashy California town, an interesting romance blossoms in this important coming-of-age story." ―Lisa M. Cronkhite, author of Fix Me
About the Author
Julia Lynn Rubin lives the writer's life in Brooklyn, where she has recently finished an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at The New School. She received her BA in Anthropology & Film Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
She has been writing books, poems, and stories since first grade, and loves reading about everything from film analysis to psychology. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as the North American Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and The Lascaux Review, and she has written for a variety of online publications, including The Content Strategist, Wetpaint Entertainment and AllDay.com.
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5/5 would read again.
So, I wanted to like this more than I did. Anything with LGBT characters, especially when it's of the M/M variety, I'm a huge sucker for.
Unfortunately, for me, it just felt like there were just too many things going on in here that I couldn't keep up with any of it.
And Jack and Connor? I do love them, especially together, but at the same time, I wasn't really convinced of their chemistry or their love for one another. They may have opened up to each other about personal shit that they don't tell anyone, but their relationship seemed more . . . superficial. Just your run-of-the-mill high school infatuation phase.
Or high school crush. Idk.
I did very much enjoy the writing, though. It was well done, and made some of the more emotional moments stand out (and me tear up), but I will admit that, at times, the dialogue made me confused about what decade we were in, because I don't think a lot of teens say things like, "mad sick" or whatever. I know "sick" is used to describe things that are cool, but I don't think I've ever heard it used to describe how "hot" girls are. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Or old.
For someone who's in her 30's, this book is clearly not my demographic, so I can't fault the author for that. I've been out of high school for over 10 years. I know when things have changed.
Before I forget, if you need any trigger warnings, there's mention of self-harm and attempted rape (as well as a scene depicting sexual assault).
All in all, I liked the story just fine; I thought Jack's struggle with his sexuality was pretty realistic, but as someone who has no experience with that, I can't say for certain how accurate it was.
I think it's still an important story about toxic masculinity that I may have missed when reading it then, but after letting it sink in a bit more, it all starts to make sense. At any rate, it's definitely one of those books that will stay with you, so be prepared for a book hangover afterward.
Connor is new at Jack's school and is instantly popular. Jack admires Connor's ability to be himself and everyone seems to accept him for it. Jack tries to include Connor in his group of friends, but Toby is becoming a handful. He senses there's something more going on between Connor and Jack and doesn't approve. Jack has always managed to keep Jess away from the dangerous Toby, but by becoming closer to Connor, he loses his control on him completely. While the situation at home becomes worse and his friendships are unraveling Jack finds comfort in Connor's arms. Can Jack let the one person who brings him happiness in or is he too afraid to start a relationship with the boy he likes so much because he can't handle the consequences?
Burro Hills is an impressive captivating story. Jack has a difficult life. He comes from an unstable home and his parents are too busy with their own problems to spend any time looking after their son. Jack finds comfort in weed and booze, but numbing his out-of-control mind isn't the solution he seeks. My heart ached for the bright and kind boy who has so much to lose. I kept hoping Jack would find a way out of his daunting circumstances. He constantly makes terrible choices and needs love and support to put him back on track again. His story is profound, thought-provoking and sometimes shocking and I was gripped by it from beginning to end.
Julia Lynn Rubin makes the bleak town Burro Hills come to life in a fantastic way. I was intrigued by the setting, a town that doesn't offer many possibilities. Jack is afraid he'll have to stay there for ever, while he only wants to get out. I could feel his despair and loved the way Julia Lynn Rubin writes about his emotions. Her writing is raw and honest, she doesn't spare her main characters and she gives them plenty of flaws that aren't working in their favor. Jack's journey is a tough one, but once he starts it there's no way back. I loved the inevitability of major drama and this kept me on the edge of my seat. Burro Hills is a compelling poignant story that felt very real.