Shannon C.F. Rogers debuts fiction about FilAm teen with a burning anger toward her mother

‘I’d Rather Burn than Bloom’
320 pages
July 2023
Macmillan Publishers

Some girls call their mother their best friend. Marisol Martin? She could never

relate. She and her mom were forever locked in an argument with no beginning and no end. Clothes, church, boys, no matter the topic, Marisol always felt like there was an unbridgeable gap between them that they were perpetually shouting across, one that she longed to close.

But when her mother dies suddenly, Marisol is left with no one to fight against, haunted by all the things that she both said and didn’t say.

Her dad seems completely lost, and worse, baffled by Marisol’s attempts to connect with her mother’s memory through her Filipino culture. Her brother Bernie is retreating further and further into himself. And when Marisol sleeps with her best friend’s boyfriend – and then punches best friend in the face – she’s left alone, with nothing but a burning anger, and nowhere for it to go.

And Marisol is determined to stay angry, after all, there’s a lot to be angry about – her father, her mother, the world. But as a new friendship begins to develop with someone who just might understand, Marisol reluctantly starts to open up to her, and to the possibility there’s something else on the other side of that anger– something more to who she is, and who she could be.

A powerful Young Adult debut by Filipina-American author Shannon C.F. Rodgers, “I’d Rather Burn than Bloom,”  is now available through Feiwel & Friends, a publisher of children’s fiction and nonfiction literature under Macmillan.

Author has worked as an educator and after-school program director in various schools.

Shannon’s tear-jerking debut tells the story of Marisol Martin, a Filipina-American teen who tries to figure out who she really is in the wake of her mother’s sudden death. Overcome with grief and anger, Marisol is split between two worlds: her Filipino heritage she’s trying so hard to preserve for herself and her brother, and her life at school and home with her American father.

Marisol’s anger leads to a series of poor choices, but her willingness to open up to a new friend leads her to bloom.

“I’d Rather Burn than Bloom”   is a poignant coming-of-age story that captures the complications of a grief journey when coming from two different worlds.

“Rogers crafts a fast-paced narrative through Marisol’s powerful and poignant voice. Insights into family dynamics, changing friendships, and biracial identity make for realistically messy and enjoyable character growth that one can’t help but empathize with,” writes
Publishers Weekly in an advanced review.

A former editor on Lunch Ticket, Rogers’s work has appeared in Bodega Magazine and Newfound Journal as well as on stage with Tricklock Company, Lady Luck Productions, and the UNM Words Afire Festival of New Plays.

Shannon earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico and her MFA in Writing For Young People at Antioch University Los Angeles. She has served as an educator, after-school program director, and lost mitten finder at schools in Albuquerque, Chicago, and New York City.

She currently lives in Brooklyn.

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