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.
I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This book taught a lesson, which in itself was a good thing – to be quite frank, the message whilst quite common in YA fiction especially, was beautiful. It showed that family didn’t end in blood and that sometimes, friends were going to be more helpful than the former… which whilst slightly saddening, was at the same time realistic. I’ve known many people who have taken solace in their friends, especially when it was their own family who were the sources of their problems. And I think that this book portrayed that very well.
This is an instance of a book where I feel the need to mention the cover, because whilst it is a really intriguing cover (which was what drew me to read the book in the first place… yet again, I do not care about admitting to the fact that I openly judge books by their covers) to look at, I absolutely adored the fact that it actually related to the story so much! I think I’ve said it before, and I’ll definitely say it again at some point in the future – book covers rarely give away anything about the book… which can be a shame sometimes, especially when the image on the cover is of some pensive looking people, usually the male rather shirtless and the female hanging all over him like some sloth that she definitely wasn’t…
So, this cover was just amazing to come across. And what was better is that it actually contained a great story within itself.
The romance was definitely a highlight of the book, albeit also caused a great pain at points when Peyton’s behaviour was getting beyond levels of comfortable and light reading. Of course, this was completely understandable due to her circumstances, both domestic and psychological. In saying that though, I’d definitely give a big trigger warning of mental illness and abuse to future readers of the book, because they are featured rather heavily within.
Anyhow, back to the romance – it was predictable – at 28% I updated my Goodreads profile with “They gon’ fall in love before you know it”, that being a direct quote from my update page… But that was probably what made it all the more endearing – it was just sweet to see a geeky, awkward and lovable guy fall somewhat hopelessly in love with an equally “flawed” (as a good portion of society would view it) girl.
It was a slow-burn romance, which I greatly enjoyed. However, I do feel the need to say this because I have read reviews of people who agree with me – it detracted slightly from the exploration of Peyton’s mental illness, as well as the other minor characters’ such as Hank’s dad, I wanted a bit more exploration of them which I didn’t get. But at the same time, I can’t say that I would have enjoyed the book as much as I had if those parts were looked into further so…
The story on the whole was incredibly fast-paced, I managed to finish the book in a day which was mainly down to the incredibly easy manner in which it was written. There wasn’t a point when the writing style was jarring, for which I was grateful because I seem to come across such books too often this year which is why I’ve started DNFing books – to make room and time for better reads such as this one which will bring me much more joy whilst reading.
The ending felt a little bit…off, and I’m not sure what it was about it that caused me to feel that way; however, the words contained within it were delightful, and I felt almost content with the way in which the novel was concluded. So big kudos to Reul for delivering in that department.
Overall, I’d say that this is definitely a novel I would pick up again – perhaps not in the nearest future… but definitely at some point which in my mind equates to a job well done on the author’s part.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
“I get you, I get you and all your crazy. And I think you get me.”