– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from the author for an honest review.
Title: Burning September
Author: Melissa Simonson
Genre: New Adult
Release date: September 8th, 2016
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Kat’s life is going exactly the way her sister has planned it, until a detective shows up at their front door early one morning and arrests Caroline for murder.
Suddenly and utterly alone, Kat doesn’t know how to navigate a world without Caroline, the woman who raised her. During the aftermath of the crime, Kat tries to figure out who she is without her sister, but unlocking those doors only leads to more troubling questions.
Kat realizes the one person she thought would never lie to her had, and quite frequently. Sorting through the skeletons and lies might be more than she can handle, but it’s a necessary evil if she ever wants to see her sister acquitted.
“If you’re not afraid of anything, consequences mean little. You wind up doing stupid things, hurting yourself, hurting other people. Getting into bad situations. There’s a damn good reason for all those little hairs on the back of your neck.”
After Caroline is accused of murder, Kat must work on her defense and discovers along the way that there’s much more to her sister than she ever knew. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a mystery. It’s not. The core of this novel lies on the complexity of these sisters relationship. Not even taking the murder into consideration, the overall mood of the novel is quite dark. The characters are deeply flawed and cynical, but in the end, the novel focuses on what family is and what they are willing to do to defend their own.
This book is such a mixed bag for me. On one hand, the sisters’ relationship was truly interesting and I was enthralled by it. They were very united and loyal, but had their fallouts as well. On the other, most characters crossed the line from cynical to unlikeable in many occasions and some subplots were very weak.
Caroline was awful and, despite the author trying to link her behavior to her past, I couldn’t stand her problematic comments being left unchallenged. I believe we are meant to hate her, but I could have done so without some of the things she says. Kat was easier to connect to, but she doesn’t escape the problematic comments either. Her internalized misogyny comes across more often than not.
“Women who pretended they loved football, didn’t care if you hadn’t called when you promised you would, didn’t mind that you always were ‘out with your boys’, loved painfully waxing themselves hairless. Those women were mostly liars, the others were deluding themselves.”
Also, the way mental health facilities and their patients were treated disappointed me to no end. The representation was stereotypical and hurtful and I’m tired of seeing it. Besides these problems, the characters captivated me because they all had very unique ways of seeing the world based on their life experiences and I understood why they behaved or reacted the way they did.
As I said before, the weakest point of this novel were probably the subplots. There was a little romance involved that caught me off guard. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it and how quickly it evolved, but at least I appreciated that the character was pretty honest when it came to it.
“Love was so flighty and imprecise, one of those advance payday loans with sky-high interest. Love came with strings attached. It could waver, change its mind, steal everything you had when you turned your back for one second, but hatred was always there for her”
Overall, this novel held my attention, but I would have liked to see the characters’ comments challenged within the novel as they weren’t necessary to establish the dark mood of the novel. If you are looking for a book with a twisted family story, I would say this one does the work, but don’t expect to like the characters.