Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: I was super-excited about reading Blaze - I thought I was getting a geek-girl's revenge story. What I got instead was a book full of bad teen decisions and self-centered characters. By the end, the only thing blaze-ing was my temper.
17-year-old Blaze inherited her love of comic books from her father. He was so into comics that he named her after Ghost Rider's Johnny Blaze. Unfortunately for Blaze, her dad isn't around any more: he left Blaze, her brother Josh, and their mother so that he could pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Blaze's mom works odd hours at a local hospital, so Blaze is in effect a teenaged soccer mom, ferrying her brother and his friends to school and soccer games. She's got no social life to speak of, and refers to herself as "Super Virgin Girl".
Blaze is crushing on Josh's soccer coach, Mark. Mark goes to Blaze's high school but he's never paid any attention to her before. While Mark's car is in the shop, Blaze ends up giving him rides to and from the games, and she's thrilled he's noticing her! He asks her out and a steamy make-out session ensues. Later, Blaze is at the mall with friends trying on sexy underwear and a risque' a photo of her makes its way to Mark's phone.
So now Mark has the wrong idea and Blaze doesn't know what to do...
When Mark starts distancing himself, Blaze gets sad, then she gets even. Problem is, two can play that game, and what was supposed to be a harmless prank goes viral.
Based on the 'blurb', I really thought I was going to love this book; I'm sorry to say I did not. Instead of a cute read about a geek-girl who loves comics, Blaze features a passive-aggressive heroine with no backbone and a cast of incredibly selfish (and at times vicious) characters.
Mark is only looking out for himself and uses girls like tissues. When he convinces Blaze to have sex with him THEY DON'T USE A CONDOM!!!! (It was less that he convinced her and more that she didn't know how to say no.) He asks when her last period was but the subject of STDs doesn't come up AT ALL. I find this very irresponsible in a book targeted to a YA audience.
When Mark pulls a 'wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am', instead of talking to him, Blaze passive-aggressively creates a comic about "Mark the Shark" and plasters it all over the school and the web. When he retaliates by posting her sexy photo online, it goes viral. My first thought was - isn't it illegal to post nude (or close enough) photos of a 17-year-old girl on the internet? Especially at a site that is supposed to be like FaceBook? Shouldn't there be criminal charges?
As for Blaze's two best friends...with friends like these you don't need enemies! Her 'friend' Amanda is responsible for Blaze's problems when she snaps an almost-naked picture of Blaze and texts it to Mark on Blaze's phone. Why did Amanda do this you ask? Because she was mad Mark's friend wasn't in to her, and she blamed Blaze for getting her hopes up about him.
Then, there's the constant slut-shaming of one female character, whose only crime was to grow boobs earlier than everyone else. Blaze and her friends actively participate in berating her without any proof of her 'sexploits'. Even after Blaze is subject to the same horrible bullying, she is still not convinced this girl isn't the slut everyone says she is.
I did like Blaze's brother Josh; he seemed more aware of social nuances than Blaze was, and I liked his buddies too - they seemed like the most down-to-earth characters in the book and were pretty sweet kids. The scenes were Blaze was interacting with them were probably my favorites.
Parts of the book felt awkward, such as this sentence when Mark brought his African-American friend Stu to a party: “Stuart is one of only three black students in our school, which makes him a semi-celebrity. I feel somewhat hip and urban having him here at my house.” ~page 47<--What was that? I also think the author was trying to give the reader the impression Blaze is more mature than other girls her age by having Blaze act like a "teenage soccer mom" and some text exchanges where Blaze corrects her friends' vocabulary, but then she proceeds to make one bad decision after another through the rest of the book.
I am happy to say the cover is appropriate for the book (I love the pink hair), but the back blurb (at least on the ARC I received for review) gives the impression of a much lighter story that it actually is. Blaze touches on such hot-button subjects as sexting, bullying, slut shaming, and kids whose parents can't or won't act like parents. I understand the points the author was trying to make by writing this story, I just think the execution came up short.
I would not recommend this for teens under the age of 17 (or maybe really mature 16-year-olds).