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Burro Hills

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In a town like Burro Hills, you either figure out who you are or die trying.

Seventeen-year-old Jack has lived in the troubled California town his entire life. He hides the truth about his sexuality from everyone, including his best friend Jess and his childhood rival and drug dealing partner, Toby. Keeping your head down, Jack knows, is the best way to survive.

But when Con
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Diversion Books
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  105 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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~Mindy Lynn~
3.5 Stars!

Once again I find myself reviewing a book in the YA genre that I requested without paying much attention to the blurb. I got distracted by the pretty cover art and decided that's why I should read it. I know there are a few of you out there who have one clicked or requested a book by doing the same.

Thankfully the story was interesting and Jack and Connor were really sweet together.

This is for sure one of those stories that tugs at the heartstrings. Jack has a hard life that isn't mad
Tan Markovic
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars!

This is a book about love, friendship, troubled families, drugs, mental illness, high school bullshit and coming out in an environment which won’t necessarily be the most accepting when you do.

This book and the relationship in the book totally stole my heart. After reading some questionable and cringey romances in YA recently I was not expecting a lot from this, but the author did a fantastic job of making the relationship between Jack and Connor hot, realistic and one you ship wholehe
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it

"Show-off. That was the first thing I thought about Connor Orellana. Fucking show-off."

The writing is awesome, the story is captivating and never loses its focus.
The book is basically a boy finding out who he is and how to be okay it, but with drugs, challenges and shit happening all around him, his friends and family.
I absolutely loved the romance, it was so sweet and real. CONNOR AND JACK are just perfect for with other.
I love ( almost ) every character and friendship in this book.
The frie
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

The Outsiders written roughly thirty years or so ago is widely considered to be the fist YA novel and started the genre as a whole. It's all super gay, regardless of what the author says about being attacked her being straight. So, when I read that Burro Hills was like a queer version of The Outsiders that also focuses a lot on toxic masculinity I practically salivated at the thought of reading it. And now th
True Loveislovereview
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, lgbtq
Jack and Connor

A heartbreaking story about young adult, living life, friendships, going to high school, a hard life... because circumstances are not for all well. Growing up in broken families. Experimenting with pills, drugs, sex and life.
The highs and lows of growing up. It isn't perfect but when there is love involved there is hope and light and sparkle.

When Jack sees Connor he feels something special and knows he can't ever tell his friends he has feelings for Connor and that he is gay.
The f
Suze Lavender
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jack isn't fond of his hometown. Burro Hills is suffocating him and he's afraid he'll never be able to get away. His father drinks and his mother spends most of her time in her bathrobe, smoking and dreaming about things that will never happen. Jack's friend Toby lives in a house where drugs are being fabricated and stored and Toby has enlisted the help of his friends dealing the products. Jack isn't particularly happy with this task. He's having difficulties being one of the guys and tries to k ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
ARC REVIEW for NETGALLEY 3.75 STARS enjoyable story about a teen growing up in difficult circumstances. Difficult home life, not fully aware of the underlying problems at home... having no real home life. A tough bunch of friends, and uncertain about his future. Teen angst, friend issues etc.
Julie Reads
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
4.5 stars
Lisa The Novel Approach
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Burro Hills, Julia Lynn Rubin’s fantastic debut, is raw, emotional, gripping, and angsty, yet also beautiful and romantic. The small California town of Burro Hills is a place where, seemingly, dreams go to die. Yet, Jack Burns is still somewhat of a dreamer, forever imagining a different, better life for himself and his best friend, Jess. Jack is sensitive and kind, a gentle soul who seems, in many ways, not cut out for the harsh realities of the world he lives in. A world filled with poverty an ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay so i started reading this book and could not finish it. it was not my thing... I found myself lost and the chemistry between characters seemed somewhat forced in my opinion. Maybe this book would have appealed to me more if i was younger but i really liked the writing style..
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like any time I do review these days, it's because I thoroughly enjoy a novel I'm reading (or I absolutely hate it and just need to share my thoughts lol).

Burro Hills completely took me by surprise. From the beginning, I almost didn't read it. First, because this has been in my anticipating title list for so long, that when I saw it on the Netgalley site, I thought it was another book and that they had stolen the graphic design, especially the font. Only for me to realize that it was the 
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Burro Hills was a pleasure to read, although might not be for everyone. If you're looking for a quirky, light-hearted YA novel, this might not the one you're looking for. But if you're interesting if something a little more raw and real, that touches on some hard subjects with enough thought to really get a point across, Burro Hills is up your alley.

Jack, our MC, has a very strong voice and Rubin does a fantastic job puncturing his narration with beautiful lines of description to give us a deep
Miranda Asebedo
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Burro Hills is a gritty but beautiful story about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality amidst the complications of his struggling family and group of friends. The pacing is quick and the book was compulsively readable. (I read it in one afternoon!) I loved the voice of the MC, Jack, because it was always so raw and unfiltered, and all the dialogue between Jack and his family, super-macho friends, and swoon-worthy love interest just snaps off the page and really pulls the reader in. Thi ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Review to come!
Jules Lovestoread
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars. Angsty and gripping. I really loved both Jack and Connor. And, Jess! <3 I hated just about everyone else, though. :/ Lol Full review coming to ...more
to me this book was slow to pick up but when it did it was a great book.... Burro hills is a story about a17yr old boy from let me say a bad side of town.. town with violence and drug dealings.
Jack has no real goals for his future, bams all day with his friends and faces many challenges with his family and friends but in the end all is well. He has a hard time coming to times with his sexuality coz that was not considered cool in his school
Although i felt Jake's and Connor's love to be superfic
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!

Anything with LGBT characters, especially when it's of M/M variety, I'm a huge sucker for. Having this book settle in a little more than I did, I'm realizing a lot more about this book that I think I missed out on while reading.

Like the toxic masculinity that's prevalent in here. I missed it the first time because I wasn't looking for it, but the more I think about it, the more I see it, and the more I
Trigger warnings (hold onto your hat, there's a lot going on here): (view spoiler)

Whew. This was a tough book. It really, really pulled no punches, and it hit on a lot of
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star
You know that feeling when you pick up a book described as “gritty?” Bonus points for other words like realistic, raw, or honest. Because everything about this book is trying so hard to be all those words. Literally everything.
My expectations for it weren’t super high thanks to that, and I think they were pretty much fulfilled. It wasn’t really terrible, but I also wouldn’t describe Burro Hills as a good book.

It’s a fairly short book and a quick read, and yet it tries to do approximately 63584
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I mostly liked this book. It's well-written, with a good pacing, and I really liked Jack as a character. I also liked the fact that the author did not shy away from depicting teenage sex. Some YA novels are way too neutered in that regard for no valuable reason -- IMHO.

Now, about the things I did not like.

I'm usually not one to frown upon drugs being mentioned in YA novels -- and God knows that I did my fair share of them when I was a teenager myself -- but this book somehow managed to make me f
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
I haven't read many LGBT books, and it was something I really wanted to do so I could expand my knowledge of other books and different genres. This book sounded appealing to me. From the cover to the blurb, and the fact that it was an YA novel because I haven't read many books that are YA compared to other genres.

This book is about love, friendship, drugs, troubled families and high schools problems that don't help the overall situation of life. It's about a young men finding out who he really i
Jennifer Shanahan
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-giveaways
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. I loved this book. Jack, the main character is a 17yo high school junior in a dying town in California--lots of gangs and drugs, unhappy parents/sad home life and he knows that he is gay but he goes to great lengths to hide it because it is NOT cool. His friends are drug dealers and all they do it get high, drink and hang out pretty much. But they are all super-macho-alpha type males. Then he meets Conner. Conner is really good looking and extremely confident and ...more
Megan Jackson
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I struggled to get into this book, but once I did I really enjoyed the story, completely falling in love with Jack and Connor’s relationship.

Burro Hills is about teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality and finding a place in society where they’ll be accepted. But in a town that is full of drug deals and dysfunctional families, it’s not easy. It is told in the point of view of seventeen-year-old Jack Burns who is captivated by the new boy Connor Orellana. Having their relationship hidden
Lisa Cronkhite
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I got a copy from Netgalley for an honest review. First of all, I have trouble reading (as most would know) I think that's all because of my mental illness. Sometimes it's way too hard to concentrate. I've been so stressed out and have been in a reading slump for months. It's been difficult. BUT Burro Hills changed all that for me. I was hooked on Jack from beginning to end. I thought his story was completely engrossing to read. Maybe I needed a change in genre or something, I don't know. This o ...more
Book Smeller Jessica Prien
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Burro Hills
Written by Julia Lynn Rubin
Genre – YA Romance
Rating – 4/5 Stars
Currently Available

“In Burro Hills, you figure out who you are….or die trying.”
Jack is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He comes from a troubled home, a life of poverty and is associated with a rough crowd. He feels there is no way out. Jack has his best friend, Jess, who manages to keep him sane through the high school BS. That is until Connor enters the picture.
Connor is new at school and begins to hang with Jac
Courtney Luk
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens and schools for discussion
This book definitely pushes the boundaries of the young adult genre. It follows these boys with troubled families dealing with domestic violence or drug trafficking. However, I don't find these topics to be too far-reaching for teens, who can conceptually grapple with these topics. I think this is a great read for school discussions, especially in inner cities, like that of Burro Hills. But it's also good for teens who are unfamiliar with these issues in their day-to-day lives to taste what peop ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, ebooks, lgbt
This book was intense. It dealt with a lot of issues. Drug abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, homophobia, mental health, etc etc.

The author did a good job of handling these issues and spreading them through the book without it feeling overwhelming.

I have a lot of feelings about this book. My brain is king of jumbly after finishing. But in a good way. I really enjoyed it.

The main focus of the book I felt was overcoming fear of what everyone else thinks about you and being yours
Leighton Williams
True Rating: 3.5/5

I was given an eARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review will be spoiler-free.

I'd like to get this out in the open right away: I was disappointed with this book. Now, this may have been partially my fault. I think I went into it with high expectations, hoping it would be similar to one of my favorite novels, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Not that I wanted it to be the same plotline. Rather,
Lisa Super
Jun 01, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018-debut, ya
“Burro Hills” is a gritty and gripping portrait of self-discovery and first love. Jack’s struggles, both internal with his sexuality and external with substance abuse, are compelling as everything he’s known about his family, his friends, and himself crumbles around him. Like the hazy California sky surrounding Jack, there are no clear answers. There is no clean “other side” for him to emerge, which adds to the potency of the narrative. Julia Lynn Rubin’s writing style is distinct and electric. ...more
**Thank you NetGalley and Diversion Books for the opportunity to read an eARC of Burro Hills! Don’t punch me too hard, kay?**


This one is RIDDLED with a potty mouth and teen angst.

For me, it distracts and lessens the quality of the story. It doesn’t matter what the story is about. I can’t get comfortable or settled into the story when I’m bombarded like that. So unfortunately, I can’t give too much of an opinion because I haven’t been able to form one.

I'm sorry; I can't go on...

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Julia Lynn Rubin lives the writer's life in Brooklyn. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at The New School in 2017, and for three years, served as a writing mentor for Girls Write Now, New York City's premiere writing program for high school girls.

Julia has been writing books, poems, and stories since first grade, and loves reading about everything from film analysis to psych

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