In her debut YA novel, Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project, interweaves a thoroughly 21st-century phenomenon – the “slut-shaming” of a teenage girl after her boyfriend broadcasts an intimate photo of her online – with its 17th-century equivalent: a young rape victim, shamed for bearing a child out of wedlock, is condemned and executed as a witch. These may be familiar stories, but in Bates’s assured hands they feel newly forged.... The Burning is filled with a sense of girls’ age-old shame and suffering, their suppressed, self-devouring anguish and their rage. Like Louise O’Neill’s novels Only Ever Yours and Asking For It, it forces the reader to confront what feels unbearable – vulnerable female flesh, exposed to unceasing scrutiny, manipulation and mockery. Moments of excruciating contemporary vindictiveness – as when as a false Facebook profile is constructed for Anna’s dead father, giving his location as “in hell” – are interwoven skilfully with analysis of historical horrors such as the ducking stool and the scold’s bridle.