I received this book for free from the Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blaze (or Love In the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 1 February 2013
Source: Book Expo America
Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now...
Thoughts: The back of the book I read has very different copy than the GoodReads description and I thought this was going to be a fun story about a girl who gets her heart broken and then gets revenge. Halfway through the book, I was confused, because she hadn’t had her heart broken, although she was making some terrible mistakes with a guy who clearly wasn’t interested in anything serious. Then I realized this book is not a revenge story. It is something else entirely.
The book starts out with super innocent, naive Blaze who is essentially a soccer mom to her little brother and his friends. Her dad skipped town (even though she idolizes him) and her mom works all the time, so she has stepped up a lot as far as cooking, cleaning, and child rearing. She is a good kid who is a major nerd and not only does she love to read comics, but she creates her own as well. Again, let me repeat that Blaze is super naive (this isn’t a bad thing–I loved her for it). She still thinks that if a boy kisses you, it means he wants to be your boyfriend. Blaze is obsessed with her brother’s soccer coach, Mark, and it was sometimes painful to read because I remember what it was like to be her age and to be that innocent. Then, Blaze’s friend snaps a pornographic picture of Blaze and sends it to Mark. I’m not kidding. Blaze freaks out, but the damage is done. Mark is obviously interested (although Blaze hasn’t quite figured out the limited scope of his interest) and she has sex with him because she really wants him to be her boyfriend.
When I say it like that, Blaze sounds like an idiot. She’s not. She is sweet and smart and knows better, but she’s a teenager and full of hope and part of her doesn’t know better. Crompton does a great job of showing how advertising sends the message to young girls that being sexual and sexually attractive will make a guy like you and we force girls to find out the hard way that this isn’t true. When Blaze realizes that she just lost her virginity to a guy that isn’t interested in her, she funnels her frustration into her art and creates a comic book about “Mark the Shark”. It goes viral and acts as a warning to any other unsuspecting girls Mark might meet. As you can probably guess, Mark isn’t happy about this… you can also probably guess what comes next.
Mark posts the pornographic picture–the one Blaze’s friend sent–and it goes viral. All of the sudden, people are coming out of the woodwork to comment on Blaze’s sex life. Blaze, who has kissed one guy and had sex once is now harassed, slut-shamed, told to kill herself, objectified, and made to feel like she is less than a person. While this is going on, Blaze’s biggest concern is losing the respect of her little brother. The hardest part for me reading this, is that I don’t think it is an exaggerated account. Like many real girls, Blaze is forced to deal with the fact that the world values her as a body and sex object when she knows she is a person.
Even though it tackles some heavy themes, the whole thing wraps up pretty nicely. Everyone at school is still an a**hole, but Blaze finds people who care about her, including a couple of endearing strangers. The romance is charming, but most powerful is her brother’s love. This story made me laugh, cry, and think. I will absolutely be reading future books from this author and I hope she writes a companion to Blaze.
Favorite Moments: Blaze at Comic Con. Everything from her phone call with Comic Book Guy to her giving her dad the metaphorical finger.
WTF Moments: There are so many, but let’s go with when Mark confronts Blaze after the picture was posted. He knows he effed up and he thinks taking her on a real date will fix it. Jerk.
Overall: Not a light hearted story of a girl getting revenge on a guy, but a laugh out loud funny story that examines some of the worst truths about being a teenage girl.