Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.
Talk about a successful read! This was a fun, surprising and interesting book that made me forget all about the real world while I was lost in its universe.
The first thing I noticed about it was how realistic and authentic it was. Instead of reading about an attractive and popular character who's lucky in life, we discover a boy who lives a bit like an outcast, talking to a few people and trying to be unseen by his father most of the time. He doesn't have much luck at all, especially when the only time he's trying to be noticed by someone, a girl he wants to go to prom with, he sets her lawn on fire. I thought it was quite funny, but I could also relate a lot, because who hasn't tried to do something unexpected and ended up ruining it entirely? Hank's reaction was also realistic, which made me like him immediatly. While I can't really say this about everyone in this book, he never pretended to be anyone else and seemed to accept who he was more than most teenagers I know, which I appreciated even more, since his authenticity and sincerity made him easy to seize.
I know this novel might sound like your typical funny, quirky and cute YA story, it's far from that. It deals with a lot of issues, like mental health, but also ones that we all experience, like lack of communication with relatives or stereotypes. It was very well done and I learned a lot from it. I loved how there was never a "bad guy" in the end, because misunderstandings happen more frequently than we think and it's more realistic like that. I was happily surprised by the absence of the typical cheerleader/jock who's a bully but everyone seems to love anyways (I don't know about you, but while tons of YA novels have these characters, I've never met such stereotypical people), because it seems like all the characters in this book are more than they appear to be (just like most human beings).
I had a really nice time reading this book and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a lot of people!
(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)