Publisher: Andrea Lynn Colt
Publication Date: 9/12
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Source: Received from author for review.
Rose Whitfield's senior year just went up in smoke. Instead of having a blast with her best friend, her cheerleading squad, and her boyfriend Ryan, she's framed for arson. Popularity and criminal records don't mix, apparently.
Luckily, Rose knows who's framing her: Paxton Callaway. Paxton and Rose have spent years locked in a war of practical jokes. This time he's gone too far. Rose sets out to prove her innocence, win Ryan back, and take Paxton down hard.
Not necessarily in that order.
Torched was a pleasant surprise for me. It's not that I didn't expect to enjoy it, based on the synopsis I had extremely high hopes. But what made the book surprising for me was that I opened it out of curiosity (I was supposed to be reading a different book), planning to read only a few pages, and I could not put it down. I was so engrossed in Rose's story that by the time I looked up, I had read half the book! I had to know who set Rose up, why they did it, how she was going to prove her innocence once and for all.
I pride myself on being a super-smarty sleuth when it comes to "whodunits" in books and movies. I credit my talents to being a lifelong watcher of All My Children, may she rest in peace. *sniffs* So naturally, I went into Torched assuming that I would pin the evil doer by the halfway mark. And I did, or so I thought. Wrong. Then, I thought I'd found the true culprit at least five more times. Wrong on every count. Colt did a fantastic job of placing red herrings throughout the story. And I fell for every single one. I think I've gotten so used to having the mystery laid out for me on a platter, that my mystery solving skills have turned to oatmeal. When the truth comes out, I was truly shocked. Well played, Colt.
With a great mystery, I was sure to love Torched. But what makes the story truly stand out is the massive amount of character growth Rose experiences throughout the story. It would have been easy for the author to have let Rose been a completely innocent victim, without any blame or cause for hate. And though Rose is innocent, her past actions, her feud with Paxton, has done damage to those around them. That, and the fact that almost all of Rose's friends turn their backs on her, the same friends she's watched bully others, gives Rose a true wake-up call about her own actions. By going through this horrible experience, Rose gets a chance to reflect on what actions have put her in this position, how carelessly she has treated others, and what she can do to make things right.
Now, what's a serious book review without the boy talk. Torched has two eligible guys, Ryan and Paxton. Ryan is athletic, smart, sweet and romantic. The perfect guy, right? You would think so... But then there's Rose's neighbor, former best friend-turned nemesis, Paxton. Except... maybe there's more to Paxton than Rose is willing to see. Torched isn't a full-on romance, but it does deliver some very sweet, surprising, and happy romantic moments.
With its well-developed, funny, and engaging characters, surprisingly sweet romance, and a mystery that doesn't wrap up until the very end, Torched is a book that delivers the much-loved elements of a great YA story. Author Andrea Colt is an author that I look forward to seeing much more of in the future.
(It's long, but fantastic.)
"His room was empty, but I heard the shower running down the hall. I was banging on the bathroom door before I could think twice about it.
Movement inside, and then the door whipped open. 'Rose?'
'Way to go, Callaway. You've won first place in the jerkwad awards.' Then I realized Paxton was naked but for a blue towel around his waist, held by one hand at his hip. I swallowed. That was a lot of skin. My eyes skimmed the top edge of the towel. Suddenly I felt like I was a sophomore again, noticing Paxton's new football chest for the first time.
Paxton stood there dripping, then swiped water from his face.
'This isn't an emergency, is it?'
'Um.' My mouth was open. I shut it.
'Whatever it is, can it wait until I'm done with my shower?' Then Paxton noticed me staring. He grinned. 'Unless you wanted to join me.' " (51%)
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