The Burning Truth is a thought-provoking novel by 15-year-old Sukkriti Nath. This book is a fantastic attempt to shed light on an important social and health issue – teenage smoking.
The story follows the life of Sana Sharma, a popular high school girl with lots of friends. One day, she is forced to leave her perfect public-school life and attend the swank Avenues International School, where she has an incredibly hard time fitting in with her peers. From her first day itself, she starts getting bullied and feels insecure about herself and her actions. Sana cracks under peer pressure quickly enough and tries a cigarette, hoping it would erase her worries and make her look cool.
Her cigarette addiction and her need to hide it from others soon leads to her downfall. At this point, it’s a mystery as to whether Sana will ever be able to recover from her smoker lifestyle and get back on her feet. The suspense-filled cliffhanger at this stage contrasts sharply with the book’s fulfilling ending.
The Burning Truth does a great job at conveying its message and can persuade people not to smoke by describing the destruction of a smoker’s life. Also, the social message is well integrated into the complex story. Every character was different in their own way and demonstrated a unique character flaw.
My favorite part of the book was the nuanced transformation of the protagonist’s character from a bright, happy and emotionally stable young girl, to a sallow and secretive cigarette addict.
The Burning Truth is a book that I liked not just for the social message the author conveyed, but the plot and story developed by her. I think the author did a great job on her book, even more so because of her age and the fact that this book is her debut novel. In short, The Burning Truth is a well-researched, well-written book, which I recommend to teenagers and adults who want to know more about issues plaguing our society which impact children.