Published by Sourcebooks Fire on Feb 1st 2013
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...
BLAZE (OR LOVE IN THE TIME OF SUPERVILLAINS) was an unexpected treat. Fresh, funny, snarky, it combined my love of comics with a kick ass heroine and fab story that pulled me in and that I finished in one sitting.
Blaze is a teenage girl, named after Johnny Blaze from the Ghost Rider series, and feels less like a Wonder Woman and more like an Invisible Woman, sitting on the sidelines, drawing her comic strip and desperately wishing for her kid brother’s soccer coach to notice her. When her “best friend” Amanda takes a picture of Blaze in her underwear and “sexts” soccer coach Mark with Blaze’s phone, she’s suddenly on his radar. Making the mistake of generations of teenage girls before her, Blaze is taken in by Mark’s whispers of sweet nothings and after one mediocre sexual encounter is cast aside on the trash heap. Exacting revenge on him with a hilarious comic strip that pokes fun at him, Mark retaliates by posting her “sext” online. All out war is declared and Blaze finds herself the victim of cyber bullying and slut shaming. Can Blaze invoke her own hidden super powers and rise above the name calling and exclusion and become her own super hero?
BLAZE was such a fun read. I loved Blaze as a character, I thought she was really well developed as a teenage girl who makes mistakes and is forced to live with the consequences rather than magically finding a solution. Forced to pick up the slack for her mom when her dad walks out to “find himself” I really felt for her and how isolated she felt. At a time when she should be hanging out with friends she’s ferrying her brother and his friends in carpool, making dinner and doing the chores so it was understandable how naive she was and how quickly she fell for Mark and his smooth talk.
I felt the dialogue was blisteringly real, there’s a lot of shooting the shit and slut shaming toward Blaze which is uncomfortable to read but having spent enough time on buses and in cafes listening to groups of people talk it’s an uncomfortable truth. It’s true at any age unfortunately how easy it is to go for the lowest insults especially concerning women and I felt it was handled sensitively and portrayed accurately here.
The characters were great and I loved how the comic books were inventively used to describe their traits. Josh, Blaze’s little brother was the highlight of the book for me, I loved how sensitive and protective he was of his big sister, portraying a maturity not usually seen in YA novels. Quentin AKA Comic Book Store guy was another fave and I loved his snark and banter with Blaze.
Full of emotion, humour and a dollop of Sass, BLAZE was a great read and one that comic book fans are sure to enjoy!