Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Title: Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Pages: 309 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC received in a swap with a friend
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)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...


Sure, the title and jacket copy imply that this book is a major geekout, but I wasn't expecting it to be this much of a geekout. I liked it! I may not know much about comic books other than what little X-Men: Evolution taught me and the humongous (but outdated) X-Men guide my brother owns, but Crompton makes it possible for even total noobs to comics to get caught up in Blaze's obsession and get excited right alongside her. Other than a few issues, this is a solidly enjoyable novel.

From the very start, Blaze's engaging voice hooks you and makes you what to know where her personal story is going to take us. It can be difficult to capture an accurate teenage voice, but Crompton manages it like it's as easy as breathing. Even better, it sweeps you up in Blaze's life and emotions until you're experiencing them alongside her. Despite knowing nothing of comics, I got just as into an argument about them as she did with a boy working in her preferred comics store. When Mark does the worst and sends out a sext her best friend originally sent without Blaze's permission, I wanted to hug her.

This is also partially an issue novel that takes on slut-shaming. Blaze and her friends indulging in that horrid practice as much as they did got on my nerves and I was happy when "school slut" Catherine Wiggan (who reminds me more of myself than I care to disclose) set her straight. The problem is that Blaze seems to only learn not to slut-shame Catherine instead of learning not to slut-shame period. Blaze's thoughts during that scene imply that now that she knows Catherine is actually a virgin, she won't do it anymore. What about girls that do actually have sex? They don't deserve to be bullied over that either, but I get the feeling Blaze would do that. There is not slut-shaming for the remainder of the novel after that point, so it's never put to the test.

With such a well-developed teenage voice, I look forward to reading more of Crompton's books in the future.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers