Title - Burn Baby, Burn Baby
Author - Kevin Craig
Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago.
Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars.
If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions.
Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted.
Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
What I thought
Let me start by saying that YA is not my usual genre. I've probably read a handful total, but when I read the blurb of Burn Baby, Burn Baby, something drew me in. I wanted to read this story. And I'm so glad I did.
Francis in a young man in high school, who to put it mildly has not had an easy life. Its hard to discuss his troubles without spoiling the story but lets just say the titles very fitting. Having to live his life in this skin he is now cursed with is not as simple as just getting on with things when one guy makes it his lifes mission to bring him down.
He lives with his mum, who from my opinion might aswell have not even been there and his two brother Paul & Simon, but at home at least he gets to just be, in school its a different matter.
Enter Brandon Hayley, who swiftly became my mortal enemy. He is your stereotypical neanderthal high school bully, until he escalates to full on psychopath who brought out feelings of protectiveness and rage in me that I didn't even know I had! Brandons chosen victim is Francis, whom he refers to as "Burn Baby". From slamming into lockers, to punches, to name calling. He seems to always be on France, but thankfully Trig, Francis' best friend is never far away and often has to step in and defend.
These two have a fantastic friendship, they have their ups and downs but the way they deal together with Francis' depression is so lovely.
' "I've had eight years with this face. Eight years.I know how people are around me. You can't just say everything will be fine. You're not inside here." I touch my heart like a melodramatic idiot. Like a melodramatic drunk idiot. "Until you live in here, you don't have a voice about THIS." I move my hand around my face to indicate the THIS i'm talking about. The Burned bits.'Francis meets a new girl in school named Rachel and he's not sure if he is being punked. She's nice to him a way no one else is. She is interested in what he has to say and what he does. She's different too. Maybe not on the outside, but different enough for them to build a beautiful relationship. Of course here comes Brendon again ready to destroy the small piece of happiness France has found. In the most dramatic way possible.
"Out of shock, I start to bawl. It's like it's the first time I realize how close I came to complete catastrophe."I didn't expect the language or the violence that happened towards the end, but it was such a fitting way to finish.
Characters = 4/5
Heat = N/A
Writing Style = 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
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** A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review **