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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard


Burned  - Ellen Hopkins It would appear that most negative reviews of this book have to do with the fact that Hopkins chose to feature the Mormon religion in the book, and the depiction of the religion is largely negative. But this did not bother me, I'm an equal opportunity religion basher myself. However, while I enjoyed the main character, Pattyn, questioning her religion and rebelling against the misogynistic aspects, I did not feel as though it really went anywhere. Ultimately, Pattyn seems to still be committed to her religion. Also, the main aspect of the book turns from questioning her religion to a cheesy western romance once she begins living with her Aunt J.

Ethan, the love interest, felt very much like a love interest in a cowboy romance novel. This was not a good thing. The cheesy love affair, completely with cheesy cliche lines from Ethan, made me roll my eyes numerous times. Ethan did not feel real, he felt like a caricature. The ending, wherein Pattyn becomes pregnant and Ethan comes to rescue her from her parents, resulting in Ethan and the fetus dying was not terribly inventive, it felt like more of a copout. The pregnancy itself is a growing cliche in YA literature that I could truly do without. In addition, the cliffhanger ending involving Pattyn's idea to shoot away her problems did not seem terribly within character, despite the repeated "powerful" and "like a god" feelings Pattyn expressed regarding hunting.

I did like Pattyn's Aunt J, except I was not keen on her choice of raising cattle or the following:

When we finally caught them, Aunt J and Ethan were kneeling beside a tattered calf carcass. Only the belly was missing. The cat isn’t killing for food, observed Aunt J. He’s killing for fun. And it won’t stop until he’s stopped. Location 2951

*sigh* The persecution of species and dissemination of inaccurate information is infuriating. It is not uncommon to come across livestock communities that persecute top carnivore species that share the land with humans, namely wolves but frequently mountain lions as well. In fact I recently read an article where a farmer was claiming that mountain lions were killing his cattle "for fun". This is inaccurate information. There are a number of logical explanations for this calf having been killed and only the "belly" missing. 1) Mountain lion did kill the calf but was interrupted and/or scared off. 2) Mtn. lion was saving the calf for later, as it is common for mtn. lions to save food for days, if not weeks, to continually come back to until the meat goes bad. 3) The "proof" of the mountain lion having eaten part of the calf was only after another predator took the calf down, mtn. lions can scavenge. Of course it is also possible that the mtn. lion had nothing to do with the death since I cannot recall if they stated if the calf's neck was attacked, a common method of take-down for a mtn. lion.

In addition, it is quite uncommon and unlikely for a top predator to expend unnecessary energy in order to track, attack and kill prey that they did not intend on consuming for fuel. Yet again we are faced with livestock farmers perceived threat of predators. Predator species are not allowed unless those predators are humans, this is a common issue in many locations across the U.S. when it comes to wolves and mountain lions. It is an abhorrent way of thinking and only leads to a dismal ecological imbalance and dead innocent beings (no, not humans). Honestly the inclusion of this "fun kill" would have been enough to give this book 1 star but other aspects greatly contributed as well.

The elements of nuclear radiation in Nevada, while I feel is important, felt forced and out of place in this novel. Perhaps it was just one too many elements to have in a book, especially as the other elements were already suffering from lack of fleshing out.

Overall, Burned contained far too many topics that piss me off and it was just never going to be copacetic with me. The cheesy romance just put it over the top.

Notable quotes:

""You shoot and adrenaline screams as your target shreds or the rabbit drops. And for one indescribable instant, you are God."

This seems like a conflict of interest for those gun and god clingers. Note: if you need/want to feel like a god, there is a high probability something is wrong with you.

I had watched women crushed beneath the weight of dreams, smashed. I had seen them bow down before their husbands, and not just figuratively. I had witnessed bone-chilling abuse, no questions, no help, no escape. All in the hopes that when they died, and reached up from the grave, their husbands would grab hold, tug hard, and allow them to enter heaven.

Ah religion, so grand.

"Any inequity in my life began when I was born female. Can you fix that?” You’ll have to fix that yourself, by concentrating on the things God expects of you. His two-faced rhetoric was pissing me off. “You mean like kissing your ass?” He slammed his hand on the table. I will not listen to that sort of language. Apologize! Behind me, I heard Mom gasp. But I was on a roll. “I’m sorry, Bishop. I’m sorry I ever believed you might have something worthwhile to say."

Through a stretch of barbed wire fence, we entered public land, where cattle could graze for a small fee and, according to Aunt J, a ration of shit from the “greenies.” Not that I don’t think our environment needs protection. But the Good Lord blessed this country with all the necessities for running beef. I’ve got to believe that’s what He had in mind.

There are too many things wrong with this passage for me to bother.

But I wanted to hunt that cat with a desire so bold it surprised me.

Enjoying hunting is just psychopathic to me.