Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 01 February 2013
Date Read: December 2012
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...
I really wanted to like this book. I wanted to love it. Nerdy girl + good moral + light, fun writing = Fantastic read. Right? Maybe, but not with Blaze.
The biggest problem I had was with characters, mainly the title character herself, Blaze. I was so frustrated with her. Blaze's narrative is annoying and I wasn't a big fan of the fact that half of her stream of consciousness was about Mark, how she can be his girlfriend (for the first half) and how much she hates him (second half). The decisions she's made are one of the stupidest and most immature I've ever encountered in YA. I might've felt bad for her but her head was just shoved so far up her ass that there was no way she would've been able to see the light.
Her friends weren't any better either, both felt very one-dimensional. Terri was the awesome best friend that stuck with her until the very end and Amanda was the jealous, petty bitch that started Blaze's problems. Blaze kept blaming Amanda for sending Mark the sext, and sure she was horrible for doing that, but Blaze was the one who made the decision to sleep with Mark. Her brother already told her that Mark was a womanizer. She knew what she was doing. Do not put the blame on anyone else but yourself, Blaze.
There was so much slut shaming in the book as well. I understand the purpose of it considering the issues tackled but I felt like this wasn't quite clear during some scenes. Blaze, Amanda and Terri participated a lot in shaming Catherine Wiggles, the school's slut, especially towards the beginning of the novel. You know how the rumour mill works, wild stories are accepted as truth and no one questions them. This was addressed later on in the novel when Blaze herself receives the same animosity she handed to Catherine. Blaze has a talk with Catherine and I thought this would improve her character. She now knows what it feels like to be hated for making one mistake. I thought she would change her perception for Catherine. Here's the one person who knew exactly what she was going through and vice versa, yet Blaze choose to continue being a bitch to Catherine and call her the exact names others have been calling her. I guess she does get better but I thought it should've happened sooner.
Blaze also had problems with her dad. He left her and her mom and brother to pursue his dream of being an actor. They hated him for it. Which I can understand but I thought the animosity was a bit too much. I'm sure if they had parted on better terms, the dad would've been more able to have a good relationship with Blaze and brother, and they could've been more supportive of his dreams. I would feel like crap knowing my dad does a job he hates because I'm standing in the way of him fulfilling his dream. Parents had dreams once, too, and circumstances that, lets be honest, most likely involves you just put a stop on them getting a real go at it. I didn't like how it was finally resolved between all parties. This is a serious matter and I felt like it was made fun of so easily.
For what it's worth, I did enjoy the comic book references. Sure, I'm not a big expert on it but I knew enough to understand what she was talking about. I liked Comic Book Guy, Quentin, as well. He is Blaze's true love interest. Their romance progressed nice and slowly. They didn't even have anything concrete by the end of the book. They were comfortable with each other, making each other laugh, having inside jokes. It was super cute when they geeked out about the characters, plots and different editions. It was refreshing compared to the other relationships featured in the book.
I would say this had a lot of potential to be something really enjoyable and fun, while delivering some serious morals. But it just didn't quite cut it for me. I still would recommend it, though. I think others might enjoy it a lot more than I did.
Title: Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
An ARC was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.