Books That Burn

A book review podcast where we discuss how authors treat and traumatize their characters.

Highlight 12: Unwind - Neal Shusterman

October 18th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman. This is book one of the Unwind Dystology. Robin has been reading Shusterman's work since they were a kid and this was a new one for them.

UNWIND is a dystopian future where abortion is outlawed but teenagers can be "unwound", a state which is distinct from death in ways that are legalistic, technical, and horrifying.

TITLE: Unwind
AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
YEAR: 2007
LENGTH: 335 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Dystopian, Science Fiction
RECOMMENDED: Yes

Book TW for discussion of abortion, discussion of “retroactive abortions”, discussion of “right to life”

Topic 1: Vestigial Existence. Begins at (1:30), CW for Death, loss of self, dismemberment, body horror, medical content

Topic 2: Split identity. Begins at (11:35), CW for Death, loss of self, dismemberment, body horror, medical content, loss of control over body

Topic 3: Dismemberment. Begins at (23:58), CW for Death, dismemberment, mention of abortion, medical trauma

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (39:45).

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Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Members of the Certain Point of View network of podcasts.

Interview 7: Kevin Klehr, Part 1 of 2

October 15th, 2021

Please enjoy the spoiler-free portion of our interview with author Kevin Klehr discussing three of his books, "Social Media Central", "Midnight Angel", and "Winter Masquerade". Timestamps are marked for the interview questions.

  • Intro (0:00)
  • Can you talk a little about the way trauma works in your writing? (0:55)
  • Do you put more thought into the trauma itself or the aftermath when thinking about how it affects the characters? (6:50)
  • Have you ever started writing a trauma in (one of) your book(s), and had it take over or have more of a story impact than originally intended? (10:30)
  • What is your approach to incorporating visible characters of color in your work? (24:12)
  • What is your approach to incorporating characters with disabilities in your work? (37:45)

--- Wrap-Up and Outro: Included in Part 1 and Part 2 ---

  • What is your favorite non-traumatic thing in any of your books? (42:35)
  • Do you have a favorite book written by someone else, and if so what makes it your favorite? (45:41)
  • Do you have any queer authors and/or authors of color whose work you’d like to shoutout? (47:40)
  • Where can our audience find you? (49:55)

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Kevin's LinkTree has all his links. Check out Kevin's website for more about his writing, you can also find him on his NineStar Press page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, or look up his author page on Goodreads. Our Australian audience can find his work on BookTopia.

The major works discussed in this interview are "Social Media Central", "Midnight Angel", and "Winter Masquerade".

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You can find Robin's written reviews of Social Media Central, Midnight Angel, and Winter Masquerade at Reviews that Burn.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Stand-Alone 15: Early Departures - Justin A. Reynolds

October 4th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Early Departures” by Justin A Reynolds. We discuss a toxic relationship, abandonment, and death in this YA sci-fi novel about grief, loss, and second chances. Robin read this as an ARC last year and is pleased to report that their re-read of the final version held up.

TITLE: Early Departures 
AUTHOR: Justin A. Reynolds
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
YEAR: 2020
LENGTH: 480 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Science Fiction
RECOMMENDED: Highly

Book TW for ableist language (brief), toxic relationship, grief, vomit, pregnancy, drowning, car accident, parental death, major character death, death.

Topic 1: Toxic Relationship. Begins at (1:35), CW for Toxic relationships.

Topic 2: Abandonment. Begins at (13:10), CW for Parental death, death, abandonment.

Topic 3: Death. Begins at (22:05), CW for Parental death, death.

Promo for Half Damage by Crit Chat; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (33:00).

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon.

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

For fortnightly news and updates, as well as links to recent written reviews, subscribe to our newsletter.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Members of the Certain Point of View network of podcasts.

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