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Burning Blue Hardcover – October 25, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (October 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803738153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803738157
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Griffin has upped the ante with this engrossing page-turner that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. He retains his penchant for characters who are broken and battered by the vicissitudes of life and who struggle to find meaning and happiness. However, no matter how tragic the situation, he injects a poignant humanity and hopefulness into the most desperate of circumstances. Readers meet Nicole Castro, who is beautiful, brilliant, and popular. Her life completely changes the day that her perfect face is deliberately marred by acid. Classmate Jay Nazarro is determined to discover the perpetrator of this heinous and violent attack. A computer geek, Jay has become a recluse due to the humiliation he suffered when he had a seizure in front of the entire student body. The two form a tenuous alliance, searching for motives and possible suspects. Alternating narratives, email messages, journal entries, and therapist notes chronicle Jay's investigation and the shocking unraveling of the truth. Jay's snarky bravado, biting commentary, and personal anxiety provide an excellent counterpoint to Nicole's piercing, heartbreaking inner dialogue. These realistic portraits will resonate with readers, who will appreciate this story on many levels: as a psychological study, social commentary, a puzzling mystery, or tender romance. Allusions to Picasso's Girl in Front of a Mirror should send readers off to explore this contemporary art classic. Another stellar offering from this talented author.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Hacker Jay Nazarro meets Nicole Castro in the school psychologist’s office and is drawn to the mystery behind her bandaged face. Who would have reason to squirt battery acid on one of the school’s most beautiful and well-liked girls? He secretly begins using his tech skills to uncover the answer and, in the process, finds many suspects. The story unfolds mostly through Jay’s first-person narration, supplemented by Nicole’s journal entries, online chats, e-mails, and other tidbits brought to light by Jay’s hacking. Jay’s embarrassing public seizure two years earlier earned him the nickname Spaceman by his less-than-empathetic classmates, prompting his counseling sessions and his homeschooling with an often-absent art-critic father. As he and Nicole become friends and dig deeper into the crime, the danger ramps up, as does the introspection and emotional tension. A connection to Picasso’s Girl before a Mirror is nicely integrated into the plot, whereas Nicole’s secret, hinted at in the title, is less so. Teens will burn through this smart mystery quickly. Grades 8-11, --Cindy Dobrez

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Customer Reviews

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I would recommend it to fans of contemporary YA.
Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading
I loved everything about it; the story, the characters, the mystery was done so so well, and I was just awed at how neatly everything came together at the end.
Aman @ Enticed by Books
I wanted to know who would hurt Nicole like this!
princess bookie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I saw this book on my library's New Releases shelf and based on the summary and cover, decided to give it a try. I'd never heard of it, or read anything by Paul Griffin before, but was really intrigued by the summary. I'm so glad I read this book: it was a great, powerful, emotional read!

Several years ago, I read and fell in love with Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful (read my review here). I think I've been looking for a book to rival North of Beautiful ever since then, and Paul Griffin definitely has a contender in Burning Blue.

Nicole is the most popular and beautiful girl in school. She is loved by many, but also a target of jealousy. The girl is practically perfect: who wouldn't be jealous? One day at school, an unknown attacker squirts her in the face with acid. Nicole's plight and subsequent disfigurement becomes her defining characteristic, as the story of her attack becomes public. The police have very little information and have not found the attacker. The entire town is speculating as to who did it, and Nicole is followed by photographers trying to get a look at her burn.

Jay and Nicole meet by chance outside the school counselor's office. Nicole is in mandatory counseling to facilitate an easy return to school after her recovery, and Jay is in counseling since he had an epileptic seizure in front of the entire student body at a pep rally freshman year. He's been homeschooled since then, but the counselor and his father decide it's time for him to return to school. Nicole and Jay become friends, as they both are struggling with huge issues and a change in the way the world sees them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on October 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the books I picked up at TLA. The publicist told me she was excited about the new Paul Griffin, "of course," and I admitted I'd never heard of him. She handed me an ARC of BURNING BLUE so that I could rectify my mistake. I am very happy she did, because BURNING BLUE is a terrific book.

Now, don't confuse BURNING BLUE with MY LIFE IN BLACK & WHITE. Both feature beautiful girls being disfigured, have color titles, and were published by one of Penguin's young adult imprints, but have little else in common. BURNING BLUE is a thrilling mystery, not an introspective character study. Someone threw acid in Nicole Castro's face, and Jay Nazarro wants to know who. That's right - despite the girl on the cover, the narrator is a boy.

Jay is returning to public school after two years of being homeschooled after a video of one of his epileptic fits went viral. He meets Nicole in the school psychologist's office - they're in a swanky school district - shortly after the attack. The two become friends, after a rocky start, initially attracted by someone else who has issues being looked at in public. I absolutely loved their relationship. It's a little sexy, as there is obviously something between them, but it stays platonic. Above all else they become friends. Friends with the potential for more, yes, but it's a very sweet friendship and feels more authentic than an actual romance would.

Jay is pretty compelling on his own, as any good detective should be. I'd read a series about hacker detective Jay Navarro. He's good looking, but too socially awkward to notice or do anything about it if he did. He's willing to stand up to bullies, even if it means his own reputation takes a dive. But he isn't perfect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erica Alyson on January 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow this book was beautiful, well the ending really was but the story itself was a real page turner. I loved every second of it. Some parts felt a little confusing and jumbled which is why I gave it 4 stars but the plot was just perfect. It kept me guessing the whole way through. Once I started reading I was hooked and there was no way to physically put it down.

The character Jay is just so lovable and wonderful. Excellent story!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Heimbuch on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by Janessa, Age 15
Nicole Castro is "that" girl in high school who has it all; beauty, wealth, and notoriety. What else could a girl like Nicole want and to what extent would she be willing to go to get it? Precious Nicole gets acid sprayed in her flawless face, leaving her severely scarred, and nobody is fessing up. Jay is the school loner, keeping to himself, prior home school student, and techie genius with a knack for hacking. With the trail drying up, Jay takes it into his own hands to try and find the culprit, winding his way into a dangerous turn of events and finding his feelings for Nicole getting deeper.

Could it be one of the girls from school? One of the teachers? Maybe even Nicole herself for attention? Who could do such an awful thing?

"Maybe I just didn't want to believe it. That she could, that she would. That she did."
This was a phenomenal read that right up to the end; I never would have guessed the culprit. Griffin has his own unique spin when writing young adult fiction, making his work stand apart from the rest. The constant suspense kept me on the edge of my seat page after page.
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*
*You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review
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