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Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)…
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Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)

by Laurie Boyle Crompton

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Ah, Blaze. You tried so hard and still managed to make me so grumpy. For much of the story, I had fun. I liked Blaze’s attitude and her talent at drawing comics and her determination to count the most cows. I especially loved the nerdery that permeated every page. All the chatter about comics and superheroes made me so happy.

However, all that had changed by the end precisely because nothing changed. My main issue was that (in my opinion) the characters experienced zero growth. None. Nada. By the end of the book, Mark is still a jerk, Dad is still a jerk, Mom is still overworked and acting jerky, Blaze’s friends are still a jerk, Comic Book Guy is still a jerk, and Catherine Wiggins is still being bullied. Blaze has a changed perspective, but what good will it do her when literally everyone around her is still the same and the only person she’s bothered to call out is Mark and Dad? GIRL, YOUR FRIENDS ARE STILL MAJOR JERKS AND NOW YOU WANT TO DATE A SNOBBY NERD BOY. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.

READ THE FULL REVIEW: http://www.shaelit.com/2014/08/mini-reviews-blaze-and-i-am-not-a-serial-killer/ ( )
  Shelver506 | Aug 20, 2014 |
RATING: 2.5-ish.

WARNING: some (minor) SPOILERS.

This book is NOT bad. That's the first thing I want to say. It's just so... underdeveloped that I was disappointed and couldn't really connect with the characters. The premise, however, was interesting.

Basically I had a problem with the length of the book (less than 200 pages) because it didn't allow for the story to be properly developed. There was so much the author could have done with the characters, so much depth she could have added to their... character. She could have explored Mark's past better; she could have explored Blaze's feelings about her parent's divorce better; she could have explored Blaze's and Quentin's relationship (she could actually have included it in the book). Blaze herself deserved more development. The entire issue(s) raised by this book deserved more development, to be better and more deeply explored (I'm not saying the book had to be bleak... but some serious moments among the predominantly humorous moments would have made this book so much more interesting) and more "closure" than they got.

As it was, I couldn't really connect with the characters. I felt like only Blaze and Josh (her younger brother) were really more then cardboard cutouts (which I felt the rest of the characters were; just there to fill the book with... characters), but even them lacked development.

I don't know. This could have been a really good book about double standards based on gender in our society, the dangers of social media, etc. But... it needed more development and a bit more depth. As it was, I thought it was a quick, fluffy read and Blaze's love of comics was awesome, but that's all this book was... and it could have been so much more.

Overall... a quick, fluffy read that could have been so much more. ( )
1 vote slayra | Sep 21, 2013 |
Review to come. I gotta think about it and weigh my pros and cons. I do NOT think this is a good book for younger teens. It was cute. There are some dead on teenage angst and interactions. But I can't quite figure out my reaction to the book.

********************

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillans) by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: February 1, 2013
Length: 309 pages
Editions: Paperback, kindle
Genre: YA contemporary, coming of age
Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis: -Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines.

All she wants is for Mark the Soccer Stud to notice her. Not as Josh's weird sister who drives a turd-brown minivan. And not as that nerdy girl who draws comics.

What she gets is her very own arch-nemesis.

Name: Mark Deninger, aka Mark the Shark
Occupation: Soccer star and all-around lady killer
Relationship Status: Serial dater
Group Affiliation: No loyalty
Known Superpowers: Anti-girlfriend force field, breaking hearts

Mark may have humiliated Blaze supervillian-style, but what he doesn't know is how geek girls always get revenge.

#GeekGrlzRevenge

-from Amazon.com

Review:
I've been eyeing this book for a while and wanted to read it. The cover is cute and I'm a fan of people who aren't afraid to be themselves.


I liked it. Didn’t LOVE it, but I liked it. I didn’t love it because Blaze pissed me off with her incredibly STUPID actions, which I didn’t expect of her from the beginning. She was instantly likeable in the beginning.

I think this book is for more mature teen readers, say in the 15 age range. It isn’t that it’s sexually explicit, but there are themes here that can be better discussed with those in that age group. There is a lot I liked and didn’t like about the book. I do not want to spoil it for the reader so excuse me if this comes out a tad cryptic.

Really liked Blaze in the beginning. She is witty and smart and I found her inner dialogue and fluttering over her crush cute. I like the games she creates to play with her band of Soccer Cretins as she ferries them from games and practices. I like that she seemed pretty self-assured and geeky about her comic books. But then…things took a turn for worse.


I did NOT like her and her friends slut-shaming and gossiping but I understand that it is the nature of the beast that is TEENAGER. I didn’t like her friends, and while she explains why she is friends with them, I was sneering in disgust. You have spoiled rich brat who tries to move in on the person you like. You have one who constantly asks to have, not borrow, but HAVE your stuff. And then the rich jerk friend sends a sext to her crush which catapults Blaze into unsafe sex before being dropped. And neither of her CLOSEST friends are apologetic in the least. Blaze, sweetie, dearie, honey – get some new friends or go it alone. Seriously. And the bad decisions rolled on from there. Sigh.

I did want more interaction with Quentin and I think my favorite character is Blaze’s younger brother, who is much more savvy and wise and socially apt than his older sister.

The book had cute little comic drawings at the end of chapters, reflecting what just happened, and seeing as how Blaze is a comic-geek, I thought this was adorable.

Some of the transitions seemed a little too short and choppy to me, but I cannot imagine it any other way as it fits what today’s techno society is like, right down to the text speak in Instant Messages despite having a full keyboard at the user’s disposal.

Some good themes here for teenagers – sexting can make your life hell so don’t do it, unsafe sex is bad (but really, not just pregnancy scare…Mark the Shark is a MANWHORE. She could’ve contracted a STD!), sometimes unfortunately your parent is a self-absorbed poopnose, don’t be a bully including slut-shaming especially when you don’t know the whole story, and even the most devoted clingy loser can turn into your worst enemy just to look cool. ( )
  a_tiffyfit | Sep 21, 2013 |
I picked up Blaze (Or Love in the Time of Supervillains) because I loved the title and concept. While I felt that there were some definite rough parts of Crompton's debut, I can't say it wasn't unique.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the close relationship between Blaze and little brother (and only sibling). The two are extremely close and, though he's younger, Blaze's brother is very protective of her. Their relationship felt realistic and reminded me of my own relationship with my little brother.

Blaze's insistence that her crush, Mark, is actually a good guy and that he is genuinely interested in her felt realistic most of the time, but sometime it pushed into less unbelievable territory. Still, I have to consider the fact that, after an individual has convinced themselves of certain things, it can be hard to change perception or admit being mistaken. So I think this played into Blaze's letting things go so far with Mark (or Sleazeball as I like to call him).

Throughout the novel, Blaze alternates between embracing her role as "soccer mom," driving her little brother and his friends to soccer and whatnot, and being very bitter towards her adopted role and her single mother who works long hours at the hospital. Blaze romanticizes her absent father, who left the family years before to pursue an acting career in New York City, and often paints him as the hero to her mother's villainy. I know that this may be a typical adolescent point-of-view and reaction to the situation at hand, but, after Blaze realized her father wasn't all she had made him into, I would have really liked to see her apologize to her mother! Or have some type of moment with her.

I also found the "guy" humor in the novel to be a bit jarring. I don't consider myself a prude or anything, and I know that teenage boys are smelly and whatnot, but discussion of those smells and all that has never been very amusing to me and for some reason, still doesn't seem like something people should talk about aloud. It doesn't offend me or anything, I just avoid it, but it's unavoidable in Blaze. Maybe I'm just weird and nobody else would be thrown off by this, but it was kind of distracting for me.

In comparison, I loved the comic book elements and talk Blaze often slips in and out of or makes reference to. The illustrations within the text are all amazing and were a positive addition to the text. They definitely allowed me to connect more closely with Blaze, who I was feeling some distance to because of the previously mentioned "guy" humor.

Lastly, at the end of the book, Blaze's brother and his friends decide to slash Mark's tires. WHAT!? Again, maybe it's just me, but this did not seem like acceptable retaliation or like something Blaze should congratulate them on doing... Maybe this is something kids do these days? As someone who had to replace a tire this week (not even all four tires) and who wanted to cry as I paid the bill, I couldn't help but feel this was over the top and unnecessarily cruel because, in the end, Sleazeball's parents are going to pay that bill. Plus, helloooo, destroying property is not cool.

Overall, Blaze (Or Love in the Time of Supervillains) was pretty good, but there were some negative aspects that definitely detracted from my enjoyment. I do, however, think my issues were entirely personal in nature and the next person to pick up the novel may not be fazed at all! Unless you really connected with something in my review that you think you'd find distracting, I recommend giving this debut a try! Don't forget to check out my interview with the author, Laurie Boyle Crompton, here! ( )
  thehidingspot | May 10, 2013 |
Blaze is not your typical protagonist. She is awkward and geeky, but extremely imaginative and funny. She has a voice that is not like most YA's, at least not like those I have read. Within the first couple of pages we learn about her comic book obsession (she often describes the world around her as what role it would play in a comic book), as well as her penis phobia. It is these little tidbits that make her stand out; she shares insights into her mind that seem less sugarcoated than other YA protagonists. Those qualities and TMI-ness of her confessions give her a very real essence, and I loved spending time with her because of it.

The synopsis of this book (read above) describes a sexting photo gone bad (and girls, lets be honest, they always go bad). However, as I was reading, I forgot about this plot point. It takes a long time for the story to get from Blaze on a quest to go from Super Virgin Girl to Blazing Goddess and grab herself a boyfriend (well not "a" boyfriend, but "the" boyfriend), to the point when the photo is taken. From there, it takes an even longer time to get to a point where the photo is used against her. I forgot numerous times that the photo was supposed to be the driving force of the novel, because the story would go long stretches without it even being mentioned. Once it is taken, I was annoyed by how it didn't seem like a big deal until a while after it happened.

The reason I kept forgetting the photo was even supposed to be a thing is because a lot of other things were happening. Blaze was cooking up ways to get Mark, the boyfriend target, to notice her. Often times she looked like a creepy stalker, but whatever (she reminded me of Felicity in that way). In addition, her family is broken and still trying to cope with the fact that her father left them to peruse acting ambitions. Because of this, her mother works long shifts at the hospital and Blaze is left taking care of her brother, chaffering him and his soccer teammates to and from games in their brown minivan christened "Super Turd". In other words, there is a lot more to this book than the sext.

I read an e-galley of this novel, but the finished version features a lot of comic artwork to go with the story. I went out and bought a copy partly because I wanted to see the pictures and partly because I want this book on my shelf. Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Anne Cain, the designer, I have an inside look at one of the artwork pages in the book to share with you. The artwork is of sketches of "The Blazing Goddess", the comic book hero Blaze invents in the novel. So, what do you think? ( visit the blog to see the illustration )

Overall, if you like your protagonists geeky and real, I would strongly recommend this one. Blaze has that unique voice I've been looking for, as I'm sure many others have been hoping to find as well. ( )
  ilikethesebooks | Feb 23, 2013 |
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Treated badly by Mark, on whom she had a crush, seventeen-year-old Blaze posts a comic strip featuring him as a supervillain and Mark retaliates by spreading a "sext" of Blaze, but her little brother and his friends heroically come to her aid.

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