So, once we were safely breathing recycled air in the hotel, my headache left, and I could read again. The ever lovely Victoria Stapleton pressed this one into my hands when I was dashing through the exhibits this week. BURN is one of those books that just bores into you as you read. You have to keep reading as the story slowly, painfully unfolds.
BURN is the story of a troubled bullied young man named Cameron. Since the first day of his freshman year, Cameron has been subjected to torture from the Red Coats, the jocks who sport red athletic jackets. The attacks are mean and quick and under the radar of the adults (or the adults pretend that is true). Patterson and one of his neanderthals corner him one day in the locker room. Cameron has to let his mind go away from his body to endure this particular torment. This final straw might break more than the camel's back. Cameron is already teetering on the edge as it is.
What Phillips has done is let this story unfold at a snail's pace. Surely someone will come to Cameron's aid? you think as a reader. However, if you have read Pete Hautman's INVISIBLE or Gail Giles' RIGHT BEHIND YOU, you know somewhere in your gut that events are already spiraling out of control and that Cameron wil be one of the casualties of the bullies and those who fail to report them. The book left me shaken. And is that not the power of the written word?