Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
May Contain Spoilers
I have mixed feelings about Blaze. I loved the protagonist’s voice, but, man, could Blaze do some stupid things. She frustrated me several times during the narrative, because she was smarter than she acted. She is so desperate to escape her boring soccer mom life that she builds up a non-existent romance with her brother’s soccer coach. The reality of their relationship is much more shallow; they have a hookup in the back of Blaze’s van, and once that’s over, Mark’s interest in Blaze is extinguished.
Blaze is the rock of her family. Her father has abandoned them to pursue an acting career in New York and her mother works long hours as a nurse, so Blaze is the primary caregiver for her younger brother Josh. She shuttles him and his friends back forth to soccer games, attempts to cook, and takes care of most of the household chores. She has two close friends, and not much of a social life. And a boyfriend? Nope, her love life is sadly lacking.
Then one fateful day, Mark, Josh’s soccer coach, asks for a ride home. Blaze has been lusting after Mark from afar all season, and she can’t believe that he’s going to be sitting in her car! Wait, no, her vehicle is the color of crap and it smells like stinky boys. Ugh! Still, she’s not going to let this opportunity go to waste. Awkwardly flirting with him, she is quickly smitten. He’s hot, after all. Mark even makes her laugh and good-naturedly goes along with the silly games she and her young charges play to pass the time during the long drives rides to the soccer games.
After giving him a few more rides to games, Blaze has built up their relationship in her mind, and she starts to think that it’s a lot more than it really is. This frustrated me, because she is not a stupid girl. She is an intelligent young woman with hopes and dreams who can debate the nuances of the Marvel Universe with the best of them, but because her family is so dysfunctional, she is looking for something to break the monotony of her rural life. There has to be something more than being invisible and going to school, and with Mark’s help she’s going to find out what it is.
It’s obvious to the reader that Mark is all wrong for her and that Blaze is in for nothing but heartache. He’s a class A jerk, and I wanted to shake some common sense into her every time Blaze obsessed about the lack of communication from him. When they are together, it’s like they aren’t even speaking the same language. When Mark does her wrong, and Blaze strikes back at him, her life is torn to shreds when he reposts a picture of her that her friend texted to him. Let’s just say that the fallout makes being a boring soccer mom stand-in seem like the best job in the world.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, with a few reservations. Blaze is a comic nerd, more specifically, a Marvel comic nerd, and there is a lot of comic chatter going on in her head. An aspiring comic creator herself, she thinks, eats, and breathe comics. Because I am a comic geek, too, and I’m familiar with the Marvel Universe (and even the Superman issue that she disses), I felt right at home here. If you don’t like comics, have never heard of Comicon, and can’t imagine hanging out in a comic shop, you might be a little bored here.
The other thing that irritated me and made me want to fling the book at the nearest wall was the hookup scene with Blaze and Mark. Blaze, as I have already stated, seems like a smart girl. She should know that having unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy or a life-threatening disease. She hardly knows Mark. By this time in the story, I thought he had proven himself to be a stuck-up, self-centered dirtbag, but my opinion of him certainly does not matter. Nary a protest is made about the lack of a condom, and in this day and age, that’s inexcusable. I don’t care how old you are or how badly you want to keep your boyfriend happy. Ugh!!
Review copy provided by publisher