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Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Burning Blue (edition 2012)

by Paul Griffin

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122598,704 (4.06)None
Title:Burning Blue
Authors:Paul Griffin
Info:Dial (2012), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Junior Library Guild, mystery, disfigurement, computer hackers

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Burning Blue by Paul Griffin




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Nicole Castro is by far the most beautiful girl in school, and enormously popular. Jay Nazarro, nicknamed Spaceman for his public seizures, is a quiet loner and computer hacker. After Nicole is disfigured when someone throws battery acid in her face, Jay is determined to figure out who did it because the police don't seem to be capable. Jay uses his impressive hacking skills to work his way through several suspects, and is surprised to find that Nicole is very down to earth and sympathetic to his siezures. A mystery that leads readers to question every character as a suspect, this novel will likely find a large audience. ( )
  TigerLMS | Dec 18, 2013 |
Reviewed by Janessa, Age 15 for Citybook Review
Nicole Castro is “that” girl in high school who has it all; beauty, wealth, and notoriety. What else could a girl like Nicole want and to what extent would she be willing to go to get it? ...read full review at http://www.musingwithcrayolakym.com/3/post/2013/05/burning-blue.html ( )
  crayolakym | May 11, 2013 |
The beginning of Burning Blue was a little rough for me. I really liked Jay as a narrator – he was interesting and I loved his voice - but the way he told the first events as if he were there was distracting. He starts off by saying "From what I heard..." then goes on to say students were drenching Nicole in water after the incident, what the exact words she said were etc. I'm glad we got a clear picture of that huge moment considering acid being thrown in Nicole's face is the jumpstart to Burning Blue but it didn't make logical sense to me and it put a wedge between Jay and I. To be honest it made me suspect that he attacked Nicole which might have been Griffin's intention. I also wasn't a fan of Jay's 'future narrating' either. To me it's like giving spoilers away, it does nothing for me in the sense of heightening the anticipation since I find it so annoying.

"I had the opportunity to see him in action—see him by proxy rather, but I’ll get to that, to him, later."

"I should have figured it out right there. Nicole’s secret. Looking back, maybe I knew."

I really enjoyed that the attacker was communicating through email and that Jay was an adept hacker. Despite my slight narrating misgiving when it came to suspecting Jay, I liked that he seemed to be piling evidence against himself to start with (tech savviness, borderline obsession with Nicole, black outs, etc). Definitely enough to make you wonder if Jay is a lying narrator... haven't had one of those in a long time.

I absolutely loved how Griffin flawed and built his characters. A lot of the time, especially in YA novels, I find myself put off by the more flawed characters because they're often harsh stereotypes (for example a goth girl who no one understands with stringy dyed hair, loads of piecing, combat boots etc.) or just generally obnoxious. Griffin amazed me with his ability to skirt those stereotypes and actually create unique, flawed, believable teens.

Nicole's journals provided wonderful insight into her mind. It was really interesting to see her from Jay's point of view and then get into her own mind. I'm actually not crazy about multi-point of view books when there's a mystery involved but choosing to show Nicole's thoughts via her diary entries kept me in Jay's presence while giving me Nicole as well. I really liked that.

I'll admit that I picked this up after seeing a few people label it as romance. I'm a huge sucker for YA (non-angst) romance. I'm not sure I would haven given Burning Blue that label but the between friendship and romance relationship shared between Jay and Nicole was immensity satisfying and beautiful to follow.

The mystery... I loved how Griffin ended Burning Blue. The mystery was wrapped up beautifully with the perfect culprit. I never expected it but it made so much sense and I couldn't have been happier with how it ended. I feel a little guilty saying that but as a mystery lover it was just so great.

- - -

For more reviews from me, please visit Bitten Books ( )
  asterravos | Feb 2, 2013 |
Burning Blue is part mystery, part thriller, and part heartwarming message of hope. It’s one of those books that you begin reading with a certain expectation, and then you’re completely surprised by how different it is. I expected Nicole to be a shallow, helpless kind of girl, but she isn’t. I expected the focus of the novel to be on Nicole’s recovery, but it wasn’t. I’m so glad Burning Blue wasn’t what I expected, because honestly, Paul Griffin came up with something way more interesting than I ever could have anticipated. ( )
  renkellym | Nov 9, 2012 |
booknook — Young Adult book reviews

Wow, I absolutely ADORED this book!

Burning Blue is told from two main points of view: Jay and entries from Nicole's diary. There are a few others as well (like notes from the therapists), but those two are the key ones. Jay was a fabulous narrator! I adored his quirky, sarcastic, nerdy kid personality. He was fun, engaging, and funny without trying to be! Even though he acted like a stupid boy sometimes, I loved being in his head.

This book kept me guessing until the very end. It read very much like a detective book, but instead of following around cops, we were following around a teenage hacker who decided to take the investigation into his own hands. You guys know how much of a nerd I am, so the fact that Jay is a hacker made me love this book even more! In order to help solve the case, Jay hacks into e-mail accounts, police databases, Facebook accounts, the DMV, and cell phones. It's awesome!

All along the way, I was constantly speculating about who was responsible for splashing Nicole with acid. I had a million theories, but my list was much like Jay's list: everyone was marked as "maybe." No one ever stood out to me as the obvious person behind it. That's what made this book so intriguing and awesome: it kept me completely guessing. I was feverishly turning the pages, desperate to gather more clues to piece together the truth.

On top of the mystery, we have a beautiful romance in Burning Blue. Without the whole acid situation, it might be a typical "loner boy falls in love with most popular girl in school" kind of book. But because of the incident, it's so much more than that. There's heartbreak, loss, happiness, and two people coming together with horrible pasts under horrible circumstances. And somehow, there's beauty in that. Nicole and Jay are so perfect for each other and I LOVED their slow-brewing romance!

The end, in particular, is so powerful and full of emotion! There are loads of twists and turns and secrets to uncover. But what makes Burning Blue really powerful is how real it is. The author's note at the end talks about where Paul's inspiration for the book came from and it's really quite sad and intense. It really shows us that there's some serious psychology going on here and that there are some motives we can't even begin to fully understand. ( )
  tripsis | Nov 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803738153, Hardcover)

How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

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.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning--and dangers--of love and beauty.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:25 -0400)

When beautiful, smart Nicole, disfigured by acid thrown in her face, and computer hacker Jay meet in the school psychologist's office, they become friends and Jay resolves to find her attacker.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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