This book will be available in stores on May 4, 2010, but can be bought from the publisher online here.
(really, really, reeeaaally close to A+ though!)
Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off.
Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Total Score: 60/70
Obtained: Free copy provided by author.
Age Appropriate? R (readers beware!)
Cussing: Mild. (edit 1/12/2010)
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Alcoholism (much). Teen smoking and drug use. Teen drinking. Excessive drinking.
Sexual Content: Lots of discussion/references to sexual activity of teenagers. Adultery. References to masturbation.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Child abuse. Bipolar disorder. Insanity. Grotesque violence. Vivid imagery of violence and murder and the burning of people. At times, gruesome.
This book is scary. Simply terrifying.
It's not meant to be frightening, I think. Just eye-opening. And, goodness, it was! The harsh beauty of Estevan Vega's words was breathtaking. It was a difficult book to read, content-wise, but the smooth, poetic voice made it all too easy to get into.
Arson is unforgiving and grimly honest. The characters' lives are sick and twisted, yet Vega relays this without pity or remorse. His courage is admirable. The omniscient point of view leaps effortlessly between characters, at once distancing the reader and making them more uncomfortably intimate with the horrors of the story. Beautifully, gracefully done. Vega has a gift he uses well.
While an exquisitely intelligent, ruthlessly realistic book, Arson should be approached with caution by even the most mature readers. It is vulgar. It is real. It is tortured. But if read with respect and an open-mind, there is beauty to be found here. There is a love story that is heartbreaking and painfully authentic. There is a boy and a girl who represent what is lost in all of us. And there is an ending that will leave you confused and frantic, but strangely satisfied...
If you have the courage, read it.