Burning Up

By: Caroline B. Cooney


Macey Clare is a 15 year old girl who moves in with her grandparents. Her grandparents live in a small town that is full of secrets. They all politely stay away from the neighboring town to them, which is full of poverty. Yet when Macey's ambitious youth group leader decides to take them to a church in this neighboring town, trouble arises. The church is light on fire by a gang and Macey and her friends barely escape. Once the group arrives back in their little town, Macey notices how uneasy the community is becoming.

When Macey's teacher assigns them a report to complete on a historical event in their towns history, Macey struggles with choosing a topic. Finally she decides she wants to research an old barn that used to stand not too far from where her grandparents live. Her grandparents told her that it was burnt down in an unexpected fire, but Macey digs deeper. She soon discovers the first African American teacher in their community lived there once, around the time it was burnt down. Macey then wonders why her sweet grandparents didn't tell her about this.

This book is about Macey's struggle to find the truth about the old barn that stood quite some time ago. She meets many new friends along her way and digs up lots of old secrets buried in the town she adores greatly. It is fiction but the history makes it seem real. Cooney does an excellent job of always keeping your attention. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys books with historical backgrounds. It is filled with controversy over racism and how many people still struggle with it today. This book is very educating and makes you think.

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