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Burning Up by Caroline B. Cooney

Burning Up

by Caroline B. Cooney

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This is an older children's/YA novel, and I wish there'd been more of this kind of stuff around when I was a kid. Young Macey lives in the swanky Connecticut burb that's been home to her family for generations. As a school project, she decides to delve into the history of a local burnt-out barn . . . and is surprised to run into a wall of adult hostility to the notion. It could have ended there -- why rock the boat? -- but Macey's attitudes mature quite a lot when she and a few classmates visit an inner-city church to do charitable work, see the deprivation of the kids there, and make friends; they mature even more when, soon after, one of those kids is murdered. With her new boyfriend, Macey pushes ahead and discovers why the barn was torched, and the levels of guilt and bigotry buried beneath the genial facades of some of her family members and their friends. The writing's good, the relationships are well handled, and difficult topics are handled more substantively than in many an adult "issues" novel. What's not to like? ( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
this is a good book ( )
  mknerem52 | Jun 9, 2011 |
We did this book for 7th grade book club. It brought up some interesting issues about race and class in the history of our country and also more recently. Macey doggedly pursues truth regardless of the resistance she gets from her community as events in her life intertwine with the burning of an apartment in 1959. ( )
  ewyatt | May 11, 2011 |
This book is about a girl who has to do a history report. Macy decides to do the report on a huge fire that happened about 30 years ago. Two days later, she goes to this church with her friend Austin to paint the rooms for community service. Macy is paired up with a girl named Venita. They become very good friends. A week later, Venita is murdered. Macy is upset and wonders if there is people in her town against black people. Macy then sees that her grandparents are a part of this. Macy is very upset. She tries to find out about the fire that happened 30 years ago, but no one seems to remember. Macy finally learns to let the fire and Venita go.
This book was very good. I liked how Macy didn't give up even if people told her to. I was a little mad that Macy's parents didn't let her go to Venita's funeral. But I like the way the book was written and I like how Caroline Cooney mentioned Shakespeare. I think this book holds a life lesson. I think that the lesson is never forget the dead and never forget the past because you never know when it could mean something to somebody else later on. ( )
  sammynop | Nov 24, 2010 |
I loved this. It made great use of symbolism and multiple themes that teens can either relate to already or learn to relate to as they read this poignant story that deals with the closet racism of many whites, even in the North, breakup of families, and secrets within those families. It does have two words that are considered strong language, though they are not used frivolously. ( )
  bamabreezin4 | Feb 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440226872, Mass Market Paperback)

This is a story rife with fire. In Shell Beach, where teenaged Macey Clare divides her life between her busy parents and her sweet-natured grandparents, neighbors gather around driftwood bonfires. Arson in the inner-city church where Macey volunteers leaves her asking why life should be so hard for some people--a question that becomes more urgent when her new friend Venita is killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout. And primary to the story is the mysterious fire of 1959 that burned down a barn across the street from Macey's grandparents' house. When Macey and her new love Austin begin to explore the barn's history for a school project, their families and neighbors become strangely evasive. But the pieces begin to fit together when Macey and Austin discover that long ago the barn had been turned into an apartment, the inhabitant of which was the first--and last--black high school teacher in Shell Beach. Why was the building burned down? And, more importantly, whose hand lit the match? As they dig deeper, Macey and Austin become more frightened of the truth--of answers that will rekindle fires of bigotry much too close to their own lives.

Caroline Cooney, the popular and prolific author of The Face on the Milk Carton and many other young adult novels, has risen to new heights of suspenseful storytelling with this wise and compassionate story. Teens will be riveted by the gradual revelation of the mystery, and inspired by Cooney's clear message that young people--as well as their elders--can be caught up in the apathy of "doing nothing" about evil. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:36 -0400)

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When a girl she had met at an innercity church is murdered, fifteen-year-old Macey channels her grief into a school project that leads her to uncover prejudice she had not imagined in her grandparents and their wealthy Connecticut community.

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