02 December 2008

Out of the frying pan...

Katcher, Brian. (2008). Playing with Matches. New York: Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 304 pages.

Leon has been ruthlessly picked on and ignored since junior high. Now that he's seventeen and a junior in high school he's more or less used to being ignored except for his small group of friends. Always having his nose in a book, Leon plays Dungeon & Dragons, watches Monty Python and is generally considered a "geek" (I can relate to Leon however as I did and still enjoy many of the same things). He's beginning to lose hope that he'll ever get a date, never mind a girlfriend, until he starts talking to Melody. Shunned by all since she started school Melody has severe disfigurement and scarring on her face from an accident when she was a child. Leon begins to see the girl beneath the surface and likes what he sees. Unfortunately he also likes what he sees when he looks at Amy Green, the beautiful cheerleader he's drooled over for years.

This is a great book for guys (good for girls too, don't get me wrong). Leon has a great sense of humor and offers a realistic look into the mind of a teenage boy. True, you want to smack him upside the head when he makes the wrong decision but you know why he makes it and you can understand his reasoning. I can't think of a whole lot that I didn't like about this book. I'd booktalk the book, it has a universal appeal. Tough decisions to be made during a tough time. What happens when you make the wrong decision and then realize your mistake? Things don't always have a happy ending but they aren't all doom and gloom.

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