Friday, February 22, 2013

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Compton

Book:  Blaze (or Love in the Time of Sbupervillains)
Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton                     
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Date:  February 1, 2013
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now...

Initial reaction
This book rocks!  I love Blaze and I want to be her BFF!

Cover story
I love this cover and title.  In the world of prom dress covers, this one stands out.  It’s so unique and I think it captures the spirit of this book.  Two big thumbs up!

What’s the Story?

So, Blaze has a loser for a dad and a mom who works too much, so she becomes surrogate mother to her middle school brother and all his soccer friends, hauling them around in an old, brown minivan.  She’s shy and doesn’t have a lot of friends, but she loves comic books and draws her own comics all the time.

Enter Mark, popular soccer coach extraordinaire.  He starts paying Blaze attention and soon she falls for all his moves, hook, line and sinker.  She makes a really bad decision and one of her supposed best friends sends Mark a pic of her in lingerie.  Then chaos ensues.

I loved this novel and I couldn’t put it down.  I was so proud of Blaze for not just letting Mark walk all over her.  The revenge comic that she draws and passes out was like revenge for every girl who has ever been used by a guy!  It was a wonderful moment!  Even though Mark came back with a vengeance and the book didn’t necessarily end with everything all wrapped up in a happily ever after, I felt good because I know that Blaze is a smart girl who will be alright.

Mark was your typical douchebag high school player.  He didn’t add anything new to the character, but he played it well.  I really loved Blaze’s brother and his friends.  They often stole the show in places.  The deadbeat dad in this book will make you want to reach into the pages and smack him.  Some of the characters were clichés, but really, the clichés are there because they represent real people, right?  I see these kids in the halls of the high school where I work every single day.

I think that Crompton did a good job of addressing some very relevant issues and showing the consequences of bad choices without being preachy and heavy-handed.  I think that teens will appreciate that.  There are plenty of girls who, unfortunately, make some of the same decisions that Blaze did.  Maybe seeing the consequences of those decisions will stop some of them from making the same mistakes. ::shrugs::

I’m not sure how much “non-geeks” will understand all the comic book references, being a geeky girl who loves comic books myself.  However, I don’t think you need to get all the references in order to enjoy this book.  I think that every girl will stand up and cheer Blaze on as she tries to stand up for herself and hold Mark accountable for his actions.

Just as an aside, I did see a reviewer on Goodreads who said that this book was “porn”.  Now, I’m not sure how she got that, but be aware that there is a “sex scene” though it is not graphic and there is one part where Blaze keeps thinking to herself that she doesn’t understand why she can’t stop looking at someone’s crotch.  Of course, the middle school boys all talk about boobies all the time, but that is just the way middle school boys roll.  I didn’t see anything that I felt was too offensive or even graphic and it certainly isn’t even close to being “porn”.  If you’re not sure, read it yourself before you hand it to your kid, but I’ve been trying desperately to get my 15 year old daughter to read it because I think it has a great message.

Overall, I thought this was a book that was sometimes fun, sometimes cringe-worthy and right on target for its audience.  I’ve already ordered a copy to put in my library.


Superman by Five for Fighting

Flavor of the Weak by American Hi-Fi

Barely Breathing by Duncan Sheik

Come On by Lucinda Williams

Feeling Good by Muse

Over You by Daughtry

Respect by Aretha Franklin

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A.  I loved it.  I thought it dealt with some real issues in a way that is timely and realistic.  The author was able to weave together high school issues, parent issues and self-esteem issues into one completely mind-blowing story that I think worked.  I can’t wait to start recommending this book to people.

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