A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
This last week I read Blaze: Or Love in the Time of Super Villains by Laura Compton. It was absolutely amazing! The main heroine, Blaze, named after Johnny Blaze of the Ghost Rider series, is such a comic book nerd. In light of all the movies that have come out in the recent past, I felt like I could catch some of the comic book references. Though, this book has definitely tempted me into looking deeper into comic book classics so that I may be able to understand more of the ‘easter eggs’ I know must be scattered throughout this book. Blaze is a massive Marvel fan and mentions everyone from Ghost Rider to Thor to some of the X-Men and some obscure superheroes as well. It’s a massive nerd-fest that’s enough to get anyone’s inner geek up and to attention.
Of course, you may all remember the awful film called Ghost Rider with Nicholas Cage in it a few years ago. That’s Blaze’s namesake.
Besides the awesome nerdiness of this book, I love Blaze. She really struck me as a heroine for everyday girls. She’s like Deanna from Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, but with some other modern day issues. Not only is she faced with losing her virginity, but this book breaches the topic of sexting. This is one of those topics that I think, as a society, we avoid as a whole. We all know that texting each other images of ourselves naked or nearly naked or in provocative poses is bad and we shouldn’t do it. There are some PSAs floating around that mention once something is online, it can’t be removed. Does any teenager take any of this seriously? Not really. This book does a nice job in showing how quickly it gets out of hand without sounding preachy. Really, my heart just ached for Blaze when everything hit the fan. She realizes her mistake, but she realizes she also cannot do much to change what’s happened and that makes it so hard. It’s easy to say sorry and have all the bad things go away, but that’s not really realistic and this book addresses it in a relatable way.
Blaze also draws really super cool comics. Like this one, which is of her heroine: The Blazing Goddess.
Blaze’s family is also well written. Her mother plays the typical overworked single mother who is constantly harping about Blaze’s absentee father. It’s a fairly stereotypical depiction of a divorced parent, but it’s done well enough that we can feel for her as well. This was not how life was supposed to go and now this poor woman has her hands full and there’s more to be done. Blaze’s little brother is surprisingly mature for a thirteen year old boy but the siblings have a tight relationship. They look out for each other and are there for each other. Their relationship reminded me of how close my little sister and I are. My little sister has done her fair share of threatening of potential boyfriends and probably for the best as well. It’s nice to see someone else’s sibling do the same and still provide the comic relief.
Only the mom isn’t really a soccer mom, Blaze is. And Blaze doesn’t even know the rules.
It’s an amazing book and I would say a fantastic read for teenagers. It deals with so many issues in such a realistic and humorous way that it seems almost unparalleled. Anyway, until Saturday…. Happy reading!
This is actually kind of a creepy picture, but hopefully you are all more attractive bookworms than these lumpy fellows.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)