The Burn by Annie Oldham
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Goodreads SynopsisThe Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right.
She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.
Terra lives in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The World went into WWIII and nuked itself. But not before some of the world’s greatest minds came together to build a perfect society at the bottom of the ocean.
Tessa feels confined, claustrophobic, like a fish stuck in an aquarium. She yearns to be in the fresh air with the grass, soil, freedom. Her father tells her that it is a world full of anarchy, murder, and hard survival. Terra doesn’t care. She wants her freedom, no matter the cost.
She finally gets her chance of freedom and goes to The Burn, the surface. After saving a boy’s life, Terra quickly falls into a group of survivors that ultimately become like family. From there, life turns into a constant battle for survival and the safety of their small family.
Terra is forced to ask herself if this new life is worth the effort and difficulties, or if the Colony where every choice is made for her is a better life.
I cannot even begin to describe how much I love this book! I mean just true love. YA dystopian novels are quickly becoming my favorite, so this one went right to the top when I read it. The whole concept of the Colony at the bottom of the ocean is intriguing to me. I wonder from a logical point of view how something like this could be possible, the steps that need to be taken, and the freedoms given up. And then there is the tree-hugging, fresh air loving part of me that gets freaked out. I mean totally freaked out. I definitely know how Terra feels; like she is an animal in a cage with the weight of the world repressing her lungs and crushing her soul. Phew. That would be absolutely horrible.
In a way, the Colony is almost perfect in their jobs, prescribed foods, things like that. Perfect for the body, but not for the soul. Everything is streamlined, practical, and useful. I would feel so completely repressed the same as Terra.
The author Annie writes a section in the beginning of the book where Terra experiences warmth, plants, and soil with all of her senses for the first time ever. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Brilliant. Writing at its best and most raw. I love writing that is raw and really dig into the details of something small and seem but a moment in our lives. But these are the moments that make life what it is. And that moment with the earth is something that really pushed Terra to adventure her dream of living on The Burn.
It is also interesting to me that Terra is unable to speak. There is an incident with a woman helping Terra to get to The Burn. She made her pay a price to gain entry to the surface: her tongue. She can no longer speak in this world of ultimate survival.
A small romance does brew between Terra and a boy named David; but very small. Mary, David’s old flame is jealous and a sort of rivalry breaks out between Terra and Mary. No brawl breaks loose, but there is a definite tension between them. She also makes a great friend out of a boy named Jack.
Terra also learns some basic skills to keep herself alive on The Burn. I really would have loved to see her doing more hard labor, like actually doing some of the hunting and maybe just a little more work. But, it is pretty perfect the way it is, and if there is another book, I could definitely see Annie adding and little more hardship to her travels.
In the end, Terra decides that she has to move on from her little family and learn to survive on her own without relying on the help of others. At first I was a little surprised and little sad that she left because I sincerely began to like a lot of the characters, especially Nell and Red. But, I am very glad because she is moving to her next adventure, which might mean a series is brewing. Yes!
And Jack followed her. How cute is that? I really do hope that some sort of romance begins between those two. I know, I’m a romance junkie.
The Burn is the story of a girl silently finding her way in an unrelenting and cruel world. Even in the darkest days, friendships can be made and kept, and survival can be a way for a new life.
Favorite Character: Nell and Red; they come as one character for me :D Also Jack.
Least Favorite: Mary; only kind of.
Favorite Quote: "All the countries that said they never had or had already powered down their nuclear weapons let loose in one fell swoop and boom! There goes the neighborhood."