Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Category/Genre: YA Contemporary
See it at Goodreads
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...
Blaze won me over from the very beginning with its front page quote taken from an X-Men comic. Being the X-Men geek (okay, comic geek--but X-Men are my fave) that I am, I admit to maybe squee-ing out loud a bit on that. Blaze is a relatable character to me, though I did have my questionable moments toward some of her actions. Most particularly, regarding her and her “friends”. I didn’t like her friends. To be honest, the only characters I did like were Blaze and the boys she drove around for soccer. One other character I semi-liked, and probably would’ve liked much more if I’d had more time to get to know him better. But the book ended.
I think I’m going to have a lot to say on this title. I really enjoyed it and it’s going to be a memorable one. Not just the characters, but the storyline because I liked the style. And hell, by the end I found myself leafing through my own comics to read through again like Blaze would’ve done probably.
This wasn’t perfect--and while it won’t be for everyone, I really adored it. I had some issues though mostly regarding some situations that left a sour taste in my mouth. I saw where the author was trying to make a point where it’s easy to be a quick judge/spread rumors(and believe them without learning), slut shame, etc.. But I would’ve liked a bit more touched on the topic. As well as a more developed look between Blaze and Catherine at the end. I felt that area was too open and wanted to know more. Way to go for a great teen voice, though. That was fantastically done for sure. I have to note that there is quite a bit of foul-talk, shaming, toward another character brought on by Blaze and her friends. It’s cruel. And Blaze gets the turn-around on her later through the story where she learns a lesson about it. Though like I said, I wish that’d been a bigger point for the friends as well--not just Blaze. And I would have liked to know more about Catherine.
But the biggest issue of all I had was when she sleeps with Mark. There’s no condom available and that’s part of the plot. What happens? She has a pregnancy scare. Understandable. I get it. I think this has happened to a lot of young women who are sexually active--even when birth control is used. Ya get paranoid. So what’s my issue? The no condom bit. After the pregnancy scare (of course she isn’t), she goes about her daily biz, back to normal, and not once during all of this does she even worry about STDs or the possibility of. Authors. Please. They happen too! This is a big issue. Especially seeing as how Blaze and Mark didn’t use protection. And I'm sorry if that's considered a spoiler for those of you, but it's an important topic I had to discuss. I rarely ever put spoilers in my reviews, but this once I needed to put this in. You can tell from the blurb above that they sleep together--so it's not like I'm giving that away.
I know. I know. Just fiction. But I do get sick of seeing it more and more in books recently and maybe I just snapped finally.
I also wanted to see so much more development of the relationship built between Blaze and a certain someone (afraid to mention due to slight spoilers). I’m sure they could be adorable. But no feels when there’s hardly anything there.
Her little brother, Josh, and his cast of friends added a lot of fun to the story. They are exactly what a group of boys that age would be like--trust me I know--and I found myself often laughing out loud at their antics, knowing that they could easily annoy me if it was real life too. The ending and what Josh did for his big sis though was adorable. It was a great way to show his appreciation and devotion to her, despite their differences.
To anyone who’s worried about picking it up because they don’t like comics: it’s not like that. Imagine it like a geeky character girl who loves comic books and drawing. She sometimes narrates in the form of a comic book. POW! ZOOM! But it’s easily understandable. Cute. Funny. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future!