by Heath Gibson
Expected publication: August 8th 2012 by Flux
All it takes is one spark.
William Tucker loves being a volunteer firefighter (maybe it's no coincidence that a pastor's son would enjoy saving people). And after he rescues his crush, Mandy Pearman, she undergoes a profound transformation for the better. In fact, it seems like a lot of good comes from the embers of tragedy in his small Alabama town. William may not be able to meet his father's expectations, force his mother to ditch the gin, or protect his gay brother, but for those who need a second chance at life, William isn't afraid to light the match--and become the hero the town needs.
Genre: Young Adult, Drama
Publication Date: August 8th 2012
Format: eARC, 264 pages
Five-foot-three inches tall William Tucker, a.k.a. Wee Wee, is a voluntary firefighter. His father is the city Pastor, and Will grew up hearing things such as 'Be who you are', and 'Do the right thing', without ever hearing that his father is proud of him, because nothing but good deeds are expected of him. His mother is never seen without a cup in her hand and is always trying to make Will feel guilty and quit his voluntary job because it worries her too much, nevermind that his actions are brave and save lives. His 'perfect' brother is gay and wants to come out during their homecoming party with his boyfriend and wants Will to be there supporting him.
William goes through life always trying his best not to be noticed, always wanting to avoid confrontation and problems, sometimes because of his stature and sometimes because of his family problems. When he works up some courage and asks his forever crush, Mandy Pearman, to go to homecoming with him, she uncerimoniously turns him down saying he's just too short to go out with. Heartbroken and with no one to sit with during lunch (he's sure they are all making fun of him about being turned down), he goes to the new girl at school Samantha Johnson, and tries to strike up a conversation.
After a quite bad start, they become friends of a sort and go to homecoming together, with gay brother and all. Things start to look good and all of a sudden Will notices that when bad things happen they also bring up the best in people, brings them together, makes them more helpful. So he has a brilliant idea to continue making people help each other, and, as an extra, to see him as a hero. He starts building small fires, gets there first, saves everyone and is put under the spotlight... that is, until the police starts to investigate the crimes and tries to find a culprit. Suddenly his plans to bring the best in people might not turn out just as he expected them to...
I found it very interesting to see how Will's mind worked, how he came to this idea to build fires. He used to love putting them down, but discovered he enjoyed it even more when he built them from scratch. He even found Bible quotes that fit in the situation, such as:
"You make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers"
That was a very interesting idea the author had. He even compared the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost to oxigen, heat and fuel. Will kept finding aspects of religion that made him feel like what he was doing was right, and he actually meant well. That was what made it so bad. Samantha was such a different character! She was so strong and full of attitude, but had such a good heart. I loved her. But for some reason I just wasn't very absorbed by the story as a whole. It wasn't boring or bland, it just didn't, well... bring out a spark. Sorry for pun. The ending was somehow lacking, too, in my opinion. I was hoping for a better turnout, I guess. But it was fitting, anyway.
If you like contemporary YAs with realistic issues and family drama, you'll enjoy Burn.
* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*