I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom

I'd Rather Burn Than Bloom cover
I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom by Shannon C. F. Rogers

By Shannon C. F. Rogers
Feiwel & Friends, 2023
312 pages

Age 14 and older

Marisol’s mom died following a car accident that happened after she and Marisol had a huge fight. Marisol, 16, blames herself and has been out of control ever since, fixated on her failures as a daughter, especially how she and her mom (Filipina) always fought and how she didn’t say goodbye to her mom as she lay dying at the hospital. Marisol’s been drinking heavily, getting into trouble at school, and had sex with her (ex) best friend’s boyfriend. Her dad (white) is at his wit’s end, but also unwilling to engage with his own feelings and memories, so that the silence around the grief in their home is all-consuming. This exploration of grief, guilt, friendship, and family starts with Marisol relentlessly angry and chronicles her slow catharsis. Relief comes in numerous ways and for many reasons: concern for her younger brother, Bernie, who’s been skipping school; time spent with new friends, even as she continues to mourn the lost bond with her former best friend and the Filipina heritage they shared; and healing through memory and ritual on the Day of the Dead, an observance that she learns is also part of Filipino culture. The transformation lets other, happier memories in—memories of times when Marisol and her mom were not at odds. For Marisol, taking control also means demanding that her dad do better in a story that ends with a sense hope and a new beginning. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center