cover image I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom

I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom

Shannon C.F. Rogers. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-84566-5

In this potent debut, Rogers explores themes of grief and moving on from loss through the lens of a biracial teen. Screaming arguments were a constant in Albuquerque native Marisol Martin’s relationship with her Filipina immigrant mother. So when her mom dies suddenly in a car accident, Marisol feels guilty about the way things ended between them, and her reluctance to open up about her conflicted feelings pushes her further from her friends, brother, and white father. Impulsive decision-making in the form of excessive drinking, engaging in a dalliance with her best friend’s boyfriend, and punching said best friend in the face result in strained relationships, school suspension and, eventually, juvenile detention. It’s there that she meets magnetic Mexican American Elizabeth Parker, who helps Marisol accept her mother’s death and learn to forgive herself. Via dual timelines that trace Marisol’s life before her mother’s death and three months after, Rogers crafts a fast-paced narrative through Marisol’s powerful and poignant voice. Insights into family dynamics, changing friendships, and biracial identity make for realistically messy and enjoyable character growth that one can’t help but empathize with. Ages 15–up. (July)