Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Playing with Matches" by Brian Katcher...

...I recently finished Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher. Katcher is from the STL area, I'd venture to say he's from the area of town that I live in. Why? Well, when I started the book, I knew he was from STL but as I read the book, I easily picked out the local high school about 3 miles from my house, the mall which is a hop, skip and a jump away from my house and I quickly recognized all the surrounding towns. It was cool to be able to REALLY picture the setting and surroundings because hey-it was my town!

Summary (From back of book and Good Reads): Some guys are born handsome, but seventeen-year-old Leon Sanders has a mug that looks like it should be hanging in a post office with the caption “wanted for shoplifting and credit card fraud”. Thanks to his twisted sense of humor, he’s managed to go from nerdy to unknown. Leon’s new locker neighbor is Melody Hennon, an unfortunate girl whose face was horribly disfigured from a childhood accident. When Leon takes a chance and makes her laugh, he discovers that underneath the scarred skin, Melody is a funny, smart, and interesting person. Leon never predicted that he and Melody would become good friends…and maybe more. Although Leon second-guesses his own growing feelings for Melody and worries about what people will think of the two of them dating, he’s happy to have someone in his life who treats him like he’s special. But when Amy Green, cheerleader and Leon’s long-time crush, asks him out, his devotion to Melody hangs in the balance. Leon tries to find a way out of this dilemma without hurting anyone, but soon realizes–a little too late–that playing with someone’s heart is as dangerous as playing with matches.

Review: At first, I really loved Leon. He was an odd teenager, who was lucky enough to have the friends he did. He reached out to Melody despite how she looked and what everyone else thought but he still couldn't help but wonder what people would think of them together. No, that's not really cool but it's true and it's honest. Then along came Amy (boo-hiss! But what's a book without an antagonist, right?) and Leon gave up everything for her. Melody begged for Leon to come back but Leon had to go with the "pretty girl" and quickly learned the grass ain't always greener on the other side. I quickly went from liking Leon for going out there despite what others thought to hating him for hurting Melody. However, I can't say I loved the ending. I'm not sure what I wanted: Leon to end up hurting or them to live happily ever after. 

I would give this book a 3/5 stars. Despite the fact that Leon ended up being the typical teenager, it still made you look inside yourself to see if you've ever made those comments/looks at people that are different and it let you know that you should look past the outside to really see what's on the inside.


Slamdunk said...

Good review--sounds like a so-so read.

I can't remember reading a story set in the place that I live--maybe too many cows and muddy creeks does not create an appealing background for a mystery.

Brian Katcher said...

Hey, another poor wretch from St. Pete! Thanks for reading!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

Love your blog name!