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Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) - Laurie Boyle Crompton Flounced.

This review also appears on Fictionators.

I've been sitting on this review for what feels like a thousand years, but in reality has only been since January lol. We were asked to participate in a tour for Blaze, and I was really excited to read this book. I really wanted to like it. I love comics and superheroes and smart girls and humor. I love swoony boys and high school stories and soccer. You would think this book, since it's filled with lots of things that I love, would be perfect for me. Nope. I flounced it at 42%, but honestly, I wish I hadn't even read that much of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains).

Comic-book-loving, sixteen-year-old high school senior Blaze is enlisted to drive Josh, her thirteen-year-old brother, and his teammates around to all of their soccer practices and games. She doesn't mind it so much since she gets to check out their hot coach, Mark. Right away, I have problems with her line of thinking:
I try imagining a a superpower that wold reduce my attractiveness to pubescent boys, while inversely making me more alluring to uber-hotties like the cretin's coach, Mark. Putting out is likely the missing plutonium to that puzzle. I am, after all, the Amazing Super Virgin Girl! Fully flowered! With chastity of steel.

Not that I'm all that virtuous. It's pretty easy to say no when no one's even asking for it. I never took a vow of chastity, but I have a nun's reputation anyway. It hasn't done much for my ability to snag a boyfriend, but I don't really want to use all my time and energy working on a sluttier image.

I do understand that lots of girls have this conception about how to snag a guy, but I don't love it. I also don't love sending the message that the best way to get a guy's attention is to pretend to be interested in all the things he's interested in when in fact you pretty much hate everything he likes. And then to be shocked when he turns out to be a douche is just...juvenile.

And that was my issue with this book. Blaze is so juvenile. She allows her little brother and his friends to do things that are completely inappropriate. After a not-so-great date with Mark that includes mostly making out and a movie that she doesn't even like (which is, btw, his favorite movie ever), her thought at the end of the night is:
One thing's for sure, I think as I climb into the driver's seat, I've set my sights on a really super guy.


I don't get it. Anyway, Blaze goes to the mall with her friends lamenting the fact that Mark hasn't asked her out again. She's trying on some sexy lingerie when her friend snaps a pic and texts it to Mark. Surprise, surprise, he calls almost immediately, asking her out again and telling her to "be sure to wear that lace thing from [her] picture." Next thing you know, they're parked out in the middle of a cornfield, making out when he asks her to hop in the backseat with him.
"Oh, Blaze," Mark calls in a sing-song voice, and I know that if I don't join him I'll never hear from him again. I think of how desperate and empty I felt just a few hours ago. I don't want to go back to that. Ever.

They're making out...getting ready to go further, when this happens:
"You are amazing," he tells my boobs. Pulling me closer, he nearly swallows my left breast. I giggle and suppress the urge to point out that he can suck all day, he isn't getting any milk from these puppies.

And that's when I had to flounce.

I don't want to be too spoilery here, but I feel like what happens next is very important to explaining another reason that I hated this book. Highlight if you want to read it: She has sex with Mark in the back of the mini-van, after he asks her if she wants to stop, and she tells him, "no." He asks her when her last period was, she answers, and they have sex without a condom. She mentions it, and he says, "It's fine," and then...it's over. I skimmed through the rest to see if things got better, and if she ever talked to the mysterious Comic Book Guy that she met at the mall and who had more in common with her. It's just more juvenile diatribe and ridiculousness. You know the rest--she draws a comic about him, he sends out the sexy pic she sent him, and there's drama.

Throughout it all, though, I don't feel like Blaze grew as a character at all. I didn't connect to her or care about any of them. I have talked to a couple of people who read this book (and liked it) and thought maybe I just don't get funny. Maybe humor isn't my thing. But I don't think that's it. I feel like if this book had been about a girl who was fourteen, I would have liked it a little more. Her attitude and thought process just wasn't consistent with someone who was her age. I also hated Blaze's friends, as well as their treatment of the girl that had a "reputation".

The one thing that I did like in this book was Josh. He was a great little brother--protective, but still dished it out to her. I wish he had been a little older because I didn't think his characterization was necessarily right for a thirteen-year-old. But, he was funny, and the shining beacon in this dismal abyss. I loved his friends, too. They were authentic and just like a pack of soccer boys.

I think this was supposed to be a coming-of-age tale where the girl realizes that she doesn't have to change who she is to fall in love with a worthy guy. I think we were supposed to see someone overcoming bullies and blossoming into her own person. That's not this story. Blaze is filled with juvenile meanderings and characters and situations that I don't care about. Don't waste your time on this one.