Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room
Nicole Castro was a rich, beautiful girl. Everyone thought so. She’d recently won a beauty contest for a scholarship. But she was also smart and kind. People said those things about her too. Then one day while she was rushing to class someone popped up out of nowhere and squirted acid into her face, into her left eye, leaving her scarred for life. But the question is, who did it? And why? Enter Jay Nazzaro, rhymes with Sbarro. He has epilepsy and knows what it’s like to be embarrassed in front of the entire school while unconsciously flopping around on the floor while everyone takes pictures and videos to post online of his public seizure. He’s intent on making everyone think he’s stupid by using an old flip phone and asking the cute girl behind the Starbucks counter how to text his father back. But looks can be deceiving. Jay is a hacker who likes to keep his computer parts looking cheap and worthless. His flip phone is smarter than any smart phone around and he’s determined to figure out who is the cruelest person in his hometown. Who would burn Nicole Castro? Is it her boyfriend? One of the teachers? One of Nicole’s rich tennis friends? Or someone else entirely? Jay and Nicole have never even talked to each other before but they may just become the best of friends, if not something more.
I picked up this book and right away I couldn’t put it down. There is a romance in it, but it’s very understated. Jay continually tells people he and Nicole are not in a relationship. The medical issues in the book, Jay’s seizures and Nicole’s acid burns, are spot on well researched and written to be easily understood. It helps that the author, Paul Griffin, is a volunteer EMT who also works with at-risk , special needs, and incarcerated teens, which brings a realness to his writing. This is not your typical mystery. There is no dead body. No murder. Instead, Jay is trying to figure out who would want to burn Nicole’s face. Half of her face is gone. She’s having to go to the hospital for skin grafts, where the doctor takes skin from another part of her body and uses it to cover her face. Never-the-less, her face won’t be the same again. She won’t be the same again. And the truth of what happened will astound you. You won’t see it coming. This is a fast read, but make sure you’ve got the time to read it cover to cover. You won’t want to put this one down.
Our TBOM book discussion group will be talking about it on October 1st, next Tuesday! Come in and get your copy today so you can join us next week for snack food and a good conversation!