by Estevan Vega
Paperback, 318 pages
Published May 4, 2010
(Goodreads) ARSON GABLE FEELS LIKE A FREAK. HE CAN CREATE FIRE. HE NEVER ASKED FOR IT. HE NEVER WANTED IT. BUT HE CAN'T SHUT IT OFF.
Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl-who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin-moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears the most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
This is the first book I've ever read that I've given a 5-star review to, yet I want to throw it against the wall. Normally, this type of behavior is reserved for books I couldn't really tolerate. In this case, my patience cannot tolerate waiting for a sequel after the massive cliffhanger I read at the end!
The first thing I have to do is compliment Estevan Vega, who's storytelling abilities is beyond his years. For most books that I read and review, I reserve a little time at the end of the night to read. I couldn't do that with Arson. Every time I tried to put it down, I found myself sneaking back to it to read just one more chapter, that always ended up being five or so. It wasn't that there were abrupt stops at the end of the chapters and you absolutely have to continue - you just never want to stop because you want to know more about the characters.
The characters aren't exactly fleshed out completely in the beginning, you learn more about them the more that you read. As a matter of fact, you're still learning about the characters up until the very end of the book ... and you still want to know more. Both Arson and Emery come from not-so-glamorous families and backgrounds. It was definitely refreshing to read about more real characters that deal with bad situations instead of the usual rich, snobby kids that are whining because their daddy didn't buy them something they wanted. These characters go through more than their fair share of problems, but it makes it all the more realistic. We're not dealing with fairy tales, we're dealing with sucky things that happen in real life. You can definitely empathize with the characters - even Arson and Emery's family members.. though I can't say I empathize with Mandy at all. I just wanted to slap her every time she showed up in the novel.
There is a slight paranormal feel to the book. Well, obviously, because you're dealing with a character that can make fire with a single bad thought. However, it's more personal than just paranormal. It's more of a story of a boy dealing with his burden (fire), his guilt (mom died during childbirth), and his grandmother and her not-so-normal, bi-polar and violent behavior. Oh, and the love developing between Arson and mask-wearing Emery. I love these beautifully flawed characters. They really compliment each other well.
The climax at the end was something that was a little expected (we had to get some fire action), but it definitely twisted into a direction that I didn't see coming. I loved it! Then, there was the happy moment and the end-end ... which is a HUGE cliffhanger that made me stare at the book for a few moments, wondering how exactly it was I was going to go without knowing more until the sequel comes out!
I honestly don't think words in a review could do this book justice. If you like great storytelling with a little darker tone to it, READ THIS BOOK. You won't regret it. Promise.