Monday, February 04, 2013

Review: Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Title: Burning Blue
Author: Paul Griffin
Publisher: Dial
Release date: October 25th 2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Won from Goodreads
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When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I just can't make up my mind about this one. There were things I loved and things I hated about Burning Blue, and I still can't decide how I feel about the novel.

Our narrator Jay definitely falls into the love category. He's geeky and adorable and just the sweetest, most sincere guy. I felt for him throughout the novel. Our other main character, though, I didn't love as much - I just didn't get to know Nicole as much as I'd hoped. In between Jay's chapters, we have some of Nicole's diary entries, but they're always cryptic and don't really let us know what's really going on. I get that they create suspense, but this way, we didn't really get to see beneath the surface with Nicole, and I wish we'd gotten to know her a little better.

There's two main storylines in Burning Blue, the budding friendship-or-maybe-more between Nicole and Jay, and the mystery. The relationship between Jay and Nicole is really well done - the focus is more on how they support each other and slowly get to know each other, and it's only hinted at how their friendship might turn into more. I really liked it that way; it gave the story a sweet, innocent feel.

The mystery, though, I'm not sure about. It's definitely suspenseful; it kept me guessing, and I was very surprised at the outcome. But, it was also confusing - the suspects changed so quickly, and I just couldn't keep track. I found it really hard to keep track of who's who, so I wasn't always sure what was going on. And I know that's not necessarily the book's fault - maybe I'm just too stupid - but it took a lot from my enjoyment of the novel.

Asides from the confusion, there was just something about the novel that didn't sit right with me. I'm not sure what it was, but there was just something off about the writing. The writing is clumsy in parts, and there were times when I just got bored with the writing and couldn't stay focused on the story.

I'm sorry this review is so unsubstantial and all over the place - that's just what my thoughts are like after finishing Burning Blue; there were things I loved and things that didn't work for me. Still, I think Burning Blue would be worth a shot for lots of readers; it's a nice combination of character study and psychological thriller, and most of what didn't work for me is very subjective and could work for other readers.


  1. I hadn't heard of this book previously, but it sounds really interesting and unique! I love that Jay is sweet and adorable; genuinely nice guys have become something of a rarity in YA fiction. Hmm, I do like the sound of this, though I understand where you're coming from when you say the book just doesn't sit right with you in some aspects. I get that weird, unexplainable feeling sometimes.


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