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Nothing Left to Burn by Patty Blount

Nothing Left to Burn

by Patty Blount

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“I’m going to make you see me. Make you hear me. Make you…acknowledge that everything I am is because of Matt and everything I’m not is because of you.”

Reece is gifted as in he can easily memorize anything he concentrates on. As a child he easily grew bored and threw tantrums – only his mother and brother consoling him. His father always kept a distance from Reece even when the younger son wanted to join his brother and father on their trips. He’s very determined, but also a very broken character. The reader sees just how broken Reece is as the story progresses.

Amanda is a so-so character. She’s a foster kid who has been tossed from one home to another since her mother has been in jail. She puts up and strong front and she’s fairly independent, but she also has such a wishy-washy side that it bothers me. When she first meets Reece she can’t stand even looking at him. She had been crushing hard on Matt before he died, but she quickly falls for Reece. The thought of Reece being a replacement for Matt was briefly examined, but it really had no depth so I didn’t see a point in Amanda’s crush on Matt, especially since she already had a strong tie to him through the Junior Cadet program.

Even though Matt doesn’t have a physical part in this story his character is so developed the reader can understand what kind of person he was through the eyes of his friends and family.

The story seems to center more around Reece (as it should, in my opinion) but each chapter alternates between Reece’s and Amanda’s point-of-view. It took a few chapters of reading to get used to the alternating points, and really I wish it would have just stuck with Reece.

The main part of the story centers around Reece, Amanda, and the other Junior Cadets training in the firefighter program under Reese’s dad while an arsonist is on the loose. Reece struggles to prove himself to his father, come to terms with his brother’s death and his own part in it, and keep the final promise he made to Matt. Amanda fights against her feelings for Reece, her mother in prison, and her foster family while working toward a future for herself.

Overall, Nothing Left to Burn is a good young adult novel with heavy topics, but falls short on capturing a completely cohesive story. I recommend for fans of YA with family drama, firefighters, and sensitive topics.

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Desperate for forgiveness from his father, Reece, who survived a car wreck that killed his brother, joins the grueling cadet program at his father's firehouse and grows close to fellow cadet Amanda until she is implicated in a string of arsons.

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