Ali (vorvolaka_reads) wrote in bookish,

brian katcher - playing with matches

Brian Katcher – Playing With Matches
Series or stand alone: stand alone
Genre: young adult, fiction
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 300

Reason for reading: Katcher’s Almost Perfect will be guaranteed a place in my top ten this year it was that good, so I just had to read his debut.

Cover: eye-catching? I still don’t know if I like it or not.

Synopsis: Leon is the type of boy who is never noticed in high school but he had his own small group of misfit friends. While he is pining after the beautiful cheerleader Amy, he finds himself forming a friendship, and eventually more, with Melody, the girl everybody considers a freak due to the burn scars which mar her face. When Amy begins to show an interest in the previously invisible Leon, he is torn between the school beauty and his best friend.

First line: “So I was reading this Vonnegut novel,” I said to Samantha.

Verdict: good.

Although I didn’t enjoy this as much as Almost Perfect, it was still a good read. It made me glad I am no longer 17 and in high school though as boys are jerks and girls are bitches.

Thoughts: I liked Leon and could relate to him. Like him, I was one of the lesser known people in my high school and, unless you’re secure in yourself and your friendships (or just plain unsociable, like me) it can be all too tempting to be seduced by the in-crowd. While I was reading, I knew this was going to happen, it says so in the blurb, but I really didn’t want him to fall for Amy’s whims.

What I like about Katcher’s novels is that he writes about boys who are normal. No super hot jocks here. No vegetarian sparkly vampires. Just normal 17 year old boys. Leon is awkward, tells bad jokes and is seriously nerdy. I like nerds. And he’s a typical boy in that he really does not know how to talk about stuff. He turns into a bit of a jerk, does the wrong thing but he tries so hard to make up for it.

And Melody. Oh how I wanted to hug her and tell her not to worry, that not all humans are a-holes. Katcher wrote Melody really well, acknowledging her scarred appearance but not dwelling on it. She’s a tough cookie who has survived a lot but will not put up with nonsense from Leon.

Amy was less well written, coming across as the stereotypical airhead with troubles at home. But I’ll forgive Katcher this as Amy wasn’t the main focus of the story, just a means to an end.

The plot wasn’t the most original, with one of my least favourite YA tropes of boy falling for hot girl before realising his perfect match is his best friend, but it was sweet and Katcher is, in my opinion, the best at writing normal teenage boys.

Currently reading: The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner.
Tags: category: young adult, genre: fiction, xxx author last name: i-q

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