Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Burning BlueBurning Blue by Paul Griffin
Published by: Dial on October 25, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 288
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★★

How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning—and dangers—of love and beauty.

Wow, I absolutely ADORED this book!

Burning Blue is told from two main points of view: Jay and entries from Nicole’s diary. There are a few others as well (like notes from the therapists), but those two are the key ones. Jay was a fabulous narrator! I adored his quirky, sarcastic, nerdy kid personality. He was fun, engaging, and funny without trying to be! Even though he acted like a stupid boy sometimes, I loved being in his head.

This book kept me guessing until the very end. It read very much like a detective book, but instead of following around cops, we were following around a teenage hacker who decided to take the investigation into his own hands. You guys know how much of a nerd I am, so the fact that Jay is a hacker made me love this book even more! In order to help solve the case, Jay hacks into e-mail accounts, police databases, Facebook accounts, the DMV, and cell phones. It’s awesome!

All along the way, I was constantly speculating about who was responsible for splashing Nicole with acid. I had a million theories, but my list was much like Jay’s list: everyone was marked as “maybe.” No one ever stood out to me as the obvious person behind it. That’s what made this book so intriguing and awesome: it kept me completely guessing. I was feverishly turning the pages, desperate to gather more clues to piece together the truth.

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin | Beauty in heartbreak

On top of the mystery, we have a beautiful romance in Burning Blue. Without the whole acid situation, it might be a typical “loner boy falls in love with most popular girl in school” kind of book. But because of the incident, it’s so much more than that. There’s heartbreak, loss, happiness, and two people coming together with horrible pasts under horrible circumstances. And somehow, there’s beauty in that. Nicole and Jay are so perfect for each other and I LOVED their slow-brewing romance!

The end, in particular, is so powerful and full of emotion! There are loads of twists and turns and secrets to uncover. But what makes Burning Blue really powerful is how real it is. The author’s note at the end talks about where Paul’s inspiration for the book came from and it’s really quite sad and intense. It really shows us that there’s some serious psychology going on here and that there are some motives we can’t even begin to fully understand.

The Verdict


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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. From the moment I saw this book featured on another blogger’s WoW post I knew it was the book for me. Your enthusiastic review has definitely solidified that decision. I’m so glad that the romance was *slow-brewing* vs. the dreaded insta-love.

    1. I hope you love it, Lauren! The romance is great because it feels more realistic than what you read in most YA books. The two don’t fall madly in love and declare their everlasting loyalty after page 30. They slowly crush on each other throughout the story and it genuinely feels like a teenage romance!

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