06 August 2015

ARC Review: Nothing Left to Burn, Patty Blount

Nothing Left to Burn

Title: Nothing Left to Burn
Author: Patty Blount
Published: 04/08/2015, Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley & Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Ebook

Rating: 4/5
"Dear Dad, 
I promised Matt I'd do this - become a Junior Cadet. That I wouldn't let you break me down. I know you hate me. Blame me for everything you lost. But that day I lost my brother and my dad. You could never be proud of me, could you? I was too 'different'. So, just in case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm saying goodbye. Maybe someday, you'll miss me. 
Reece's words made her ache. Amanda understands wanting to belong. As a foster kid, the firehouse where she volunteers is the only place that feels like home. She wants to help Reece, but his dad is her boss. And she won't risk her place as a Junior Cadet - it's all she has. But then a string of arsons suddenly point to Amanda, her whole world is about to go up in flames. And the only way to save themselves is to risk getting burned."

This book had me in tears. So many tears. Just the raw emotion contained within 368 pages is overwhelming!

Nothing Left to Burn is a rare type of book. It brings so many different characters from different backgrounds and meshes them together excellently. The setting ties in extremely well with both the characters and the plot. In fact, they practically go hand in hand. It makes absolute sense for each of the characters to be where they are. The majority of the characters, including the secondary characters, are very likable with the exception of Reece's father.

Nothing Left to Burn is told via the alternating perspectives of Reece and Amanda. These perspectives do tend to overlap, but this allows the reader to gain a better picture of how the characters feel, especially in regards to Matt and J Squad. It also shows how the Junior Cadets, and probably everyone else, judged and blamed Reece for Matt's death. This was something that really affected Reece and he did shoulder all the blame and it crushed him.

There are so many aspects to the story - Reece's relationship with his father, joining J Squad, Amanda's struggles etc - and this makes the story very fast paced. There was always something happening or some secret being revealed. This means that Nothing Left to Burn is also a very quick read. Every aspect to the plot was also logical. There weren't too many plot twists - it's mainly set around Reece struggling for acceptance from his father and J Squad. However, the one major plot twist wasn't expected. All the evidence didn't really noticeably point to the outcome yet it still revealed clues throughout the story.

I really liked Reece. I just felt so sorry for him and wanted to give him a massive hug. All he wanted was to be accepted by his father and this had such a profound effect on his life as a whole. He is just so different to the rest of his family and he really struggles with this. To a lesser extent, I can relate to this as I'm the odd one in my family however my family actually speaks to me and we get on. Reece also struggles with his overwhelming guilt over the death of his brother. It doesn't help that everyone, family and Matt's friends, piles the blame on to him. Reece bottles his feelings up until they just explode out of him. I really don't think that his parents have handled the situation well. Of course, they are grieving but they should have remembered and supported their other son.

However, underneath all his grief and family problems Reece is probably one of the nicest people anyone would have the fortune of meeting. He can be very sweet and witty and a total lack of verbal filter which results in a few cute/awkward moments.

I loved Amanda for her pure desire to persist through tough times. She really hasn't had the best start in life and is desperate to better herself. Unlike, many (but obviously not all) teenagers stuck in the foster care system she manages to stick to the straight and narrow. She doesn't want to be a statistic and, therefore, pushes herself to do the best she can both at school and at the firehouse. However, for a girl who grew up in foster care she could also appear rather snobbish and stand-offish at times. However, this is mainly directed towards Reece and gradually disappears.

I would definitely recommend Nothing Left to Burn to fans of YA contemporary romance. It is extremely emotional and a tough read but I think anyone would like it. I look forward to reading more by Patty Blount in the future.

COYER Scavenger Hunt #53: Read a book with just half a face on the cover.

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