Saturday, December 8, 2012

Burning Blue - Book Review

I'm really starting to look forward to mailtime at work because Penguin keeps sending me some of its latest Young Adult fiction releases, and I just love reading and reviewing them! Burning Blue by Paul Griffin came out in October from Dial, an imprint of Penguin. It's sort of like a detective novel for teens.

Nicole Castro is gorgeous, smart, rich, and nice. But all of those qualities don't guarantee that everyone likes her. In fact, someone wants to destroy her and succeeds at doing so by throwing acid on Nicole's face in the school hallway, ruining the left side of her face. No one knows who did it, and the list of potential suspects is not short.

Jay Nazarro is a loner and brilliant (secret) computer hacker who suffers from epilepsy. When he meets Nicole while both of them are waiting for a therapy session with the school counselor, they become friends. As her friend, Jay wants to help find out who hurt Nicole. He doesn't believe the police are doing everything they can, so Jay becomes an amateur detective, using his hacking skills to uncover information, even if it means he puts himself, and everyone he loves, at risk.

This plot definitely had me fooled! I could NOT figure out "whodunnit" right up to the end. Just when you think they've nabbed the suspect, there's more to the story. There are so many suspects - teachers, friends, boyfriends, even Nicole herself - that I just stopped trying to figure it out and waited for the story to unfold. The ending was a definite shocker!

Burning Blue is for ages 14 and up, but the characters are juniors in high school, and there are some references to underage drinking, hand jobs, blow jobs, boning, and the like. Not that you want your high schooler participating in those activities, but ... it doesn't seem all that appropriate for a 14-year-old 8th grader. I would definitely recommend this book for kids who are the same age as the main characters.

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