Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review: Arson by Estevan Vega

Written by Estevan Vega
Release Date: May 4, 2010                 
Publisher: Tate Publishing
[5stars.jpg] you ever read a book that took you by complete surprise and kept you glued within its pages start to finish?  Well,  Arson by Estevan Vega was that type of read for me!  I seriously read this book cover to cover in one sitting (minus 30 pages)!  There are so many different ways to describe this book.  I could say that it was dark, real, and riveting.  I could say that it was beautifully written and powerful.  I could say that it was intelligent, layered, and a little twisted!  But I guess it all boils down to this... it is a really good book!!

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

"Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off. Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl—who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin—moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation."

My Thoughts:
This is the kind of book that stays with you after you read it.  To me, it was a story of the human condition at its worst and its best.  Estevan did an incredible job developing the characters in the book.  They all had more to them than the visible layer,  yet still maintained a simplicity that was so raw and human.  I found myself caring for them, rooting for them, feeling sorry for them, laughing at them, getting mad at them, but mostly just connecting with them.  Each had their own dark journey into some pretty difficult and heavy issues (family dysfunction, peer pressure, alcoholism, abuse, insecurity, wanting to fit in, and divorce). These issues are ones that teens and adults face everyday.  The character's individual struggles seemed so real and authentic that they became absolutely real to me while reading.   I loved Emery and her sassy wit and sarcasm.  She was a really cool girl and was able to see Arson in a way that no one else (including Arson himself) could.  She had a really screwed up family life and found solace in Arson and his nonjudgmetal view of her decision to wear the mask.  Arson was such a tortured soul.  He was so full of regret and just wanted a chance at redemption.  I think that he saw Emery as his chance to make up for his past.  It was fun to watch their relationship grow and I wanted it to work between them so badly.  Arson's 'talent' isn't fully revealed until you've read a good chunk of the book.  The small glimpses that you do see only fuel the suspense as to what he is really capable of.  The ending was completely unexpected!  It was a "No way- that did not just happen!" kind of ending!  It was a cliff hanger that left the door wide open and screaming for a sequel.  I can't wait to find out what happens next for Arson, Emery and the rest of characters.  As far as recommendations go.... this isn't a light read for sure and there are references to mature topics like sex and infidelity, so I would say 9th grade and up.  The content of Arson may be dark, but the skill that the ultra-talented Estevan Vega delivers it with allowed me to see past that darkness into the lives of these incredible characters that now have a place in my heart.

About The Author (taken from his bio):
 Currently a college student in Connecticut, Estevan Vega has been writing since he was a teenager. ARSON will be his third published work, following Servant of the Realm and The Sacred Sin. ARSON holds a part of Estevan, a piece he began during a tumultuous time in his own life. With a curiosity for the supernatural, as well as a feeling of discontentment with humanity's complacency, Vega’s story-lines dwell somewhere in between fiction and reality, a place where the world is as blurred and irregular as human choice and consequence.

**If you can't wait until May 4th to get your copy, then head over to the publisher's website where you can snag your copy NOW!!!  Yeah!!  Estevan is currently in the midst of a blog tour promoting Arson.  I am excited to say that he will be stopping by this site for an interview on April 19th.  Make sure that you come back and check it out!  Here are the upcoming stops on his tour:

Wednesday, April 14: The Book Vixen
Thursday, April 15: Mrs. Magoo Reads
Friday, April 16: Katie at Sophistikatied Reviews
Saturday, April 17: Sandy at Pirate Penguin Reads
Sunday, April 18: Sherry at Flippin Pages For All Ages
Monday, April 19: Jenn at Extreme Reader Book Reviews
Tuesday, April 20: Kate at Neverending Bookshelf
Wednesday, April 21: Melanie at Melanie's Musings
Thursday, April 22: Amber at Just Your Typical Book Blog
Friday, April 23: Teenage Reader
Saturday, April 24: Lucy at Delightful Reviews
Sunday, April 25:  Bridget at Readaholic
Monday, April 26: Sab at YA Bliss
Tuesday, April 27: Patty at Yay Reads
Wednesday, April 28: Gina at Insatiable Readers
Thursday, April 29: Kelsey at The Book Scout
Friday, April 30: Laura at Calico Critic
Saturday, May 1: The Moody Teenager
Sunday, May 2: I Heart Monster 
Monday, May 3: Katlyn at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read
Tuesday, May 4: John at CT Book Examiner
Wednesday, May 5: Laurie at Readergirls
Thursday, May 6: Darcy at  Library Lounge Lizard
Saturday, May 8: Cindy at Princess Bookie
Sunday, May 9: Eleni at La Femme Readers

*My copy of Arson was generously given to me by the author, Thanks Estevan!