The Burn by Annie Oldham

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       The Burn is the name given to the world 100 years after World War III erupted and left the Earth devastated by nuclear burnout.  That’s all Terra, a teenage girl, really knows about The Burn.  She’s been living her entire life in a comfortable colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

      The Burn, by Annie Oldham, is a dystopian novel about a group of scientists that predicted the nuclear war that caused the Earth to become known as The Burn.  For year’s before the was broke out scientists in all fields began creating secret colonies at the bottom of the ocean.  At the time of World War III there were 14 colonies of scientists and there families living in the ocean.

     Terra is not like the other people who live in the colony.  Most people are happy living at the bottom of the ocean with their job picked out for them, their menus planned for them, and video recording watchers taping their every move.  Terra is not satisfied with her life in the colony.  She feels claustrophobic and crushed by the ocean above and around her.  She longs to see real light and not the artificial lights that are in every part of the colony. 

    All of this is complicated by the fact that she lives with her father and her grandmother.  Her grandmother was the former speaker, or leader, of their colony and her father is the current speaker.  Her mother left years before after the birth of Terra and her twin sister Jessa.

    When she thinks she can’t take it anymore an opporunity to go to The Burn falls in her lap.  There is a hefty price to pay in addition to the fact that she can never come back to the colonies but Terra takes it.  She arrives in The Burn and finds a group of survivors hiding from the government.  She quickly becomes friends with them and everything seems to be falling into place.

    Just when she gets comfortable Terra finds that life on The Burn is not what she expected.  She witnesses and commits unspeakable acts.   She realizes that everyday will be a struggle for survival and she’s not sure if living above water is any better then living under it in the colonies.

    For the most part I really enjoyed this book.  Terra is a strong female character that follows her heart.  She is naive in the way that many teenagers are but she never gives up.  The whole concept of living on the bottom of the ocean really interested me and it was neat to see the underwater world Annie Oldham dreamed up.  There were several parts where I thought things changed a little abruptly or happened too quickly but overall I liked this novel and hope there’s a second book so I can see what happens to Terra.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

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