________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 10. . . .November 6, 2015


Burned. (Retribution).

Natasha Deen.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2015.
161 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0716-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0748-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0729-7 (epub).

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Tabitha Nordby.

*** /4


It would be so easy to kill her.
So easy.
So simple to pass her by on the street,
take her breath with the same ease I’d taken her wallet.

I’ve been on the streets for two years, and I’ve learned how to pick pockets and steal apples, which alleys are safe to sleep in and which ones to stay away from. I know which pizzerias leave their leftovers for the homeless and which ones watch over their garbage with the zeal of a miser guarding his gold.

And I know how to use a knife.


In Burned, part of the “Retribution Trilogy” from Orca Books, readers meet teenager Josie who has spent the last two years living on the street while she seeks revenge on the cop who killed her family. Street smart, resourceful, and disguised as a boy, Josie performs a variety of jobs, both legal and illegal, to drum up money and food for herself and her homeless companions. One day a simple task goes awry, plunging Josie into a stormy series of events that could bring justice to her family, but endanger her own life.

     Burned is a fast-paced, high energy, and engaging novel. Readers will be immersed from the intriguing mystery posed in the first chapter, and their interest will only continue to rise as they follow Josie through the twists and turns of her search for vengeance. Josie and her friends are written as realistic and relatable characters, with whom teens will be able to identify, and the city of Vancouver is also recognizable in all of its grit and glamour.

     Natasha Deen is an award-winning author of the teen horror novel Guardian, and has served as writer in residence at several libraries throughout Alberta. In writing Burned, Deen has collaborated with well-known young adult authors Judith Graves and Sigmund Brouwer to create a high interest trilogy for teens that can be read in any order. Burned will be enjoyed by teens who love mystery or action novels, and reluctant readers will especially appreciate its rapid pace and exciting content.


Tabitha Nordby is a Readers’ Advisory and Reference Instructor in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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