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.
When I first heard of Burning Blue, I thought it was just a romantic story between a hacker and a popular girl. I assumed it would be something fairly predictable, like a girl got into an accident and then she met a guy, and this guy – probably handsome, strong and protective – would offer her a shoulder to cry on, and then they’d live happily ever after. But Burning Blue is a lot more than a romance. It has mystery, something that I wasn’t able to resolve (well, it’s more like I made a guess in a wrong direction quite early on in the story) and when things are revealed in the end, I felt like I didn’t quite see that coming (not because I guessed things wrong but more because the characters were not just black and white, they were all shades of grey).
I really like the characters in the book. They all have something that they’d like to hide. They all feel unsafe to share their secrets, and I guess because of their desperation of wanting to hide what they don’t want to get exposed, they all act in ways that are deceptive, somewhat hurtful and inauthentic.
What I love about Burning Blue is that in the story, Jay (the hacker) goes about doing his investigation to find out who hurt Nicole not because he wants to make himself look like a hero. He does it because he feels it’s the right thing to do. I also like that we get to see why Jay has become the version of who he is when he becomes acquainted with Nicole at school after her accident. Probably because of his past, his way of extending his support for Nicole is not exactly forthright, but I like that he is sincere and caring. I especially like how his action is always louder than his words when he is interacting with others in the story.
Because the characters in the story are not pure evil or pure good, they feel real to me. It’s like I can relate to their sense of desperation, their loathing of self, their wanting to be different. I can feel how eager they want to shatter the masks that they’ve been wearing and yet they’re afraid the exposure of their authenticity would cost them dearly. I really like how the story explores into the vulnerability of our human nature, and if you like stories that explore the frailties of human nature, I think you’ll love Burning Blue.