Publisher: Andrea Lynn Colt Books (September 6, 2012)
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed by: Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide
First off, a big thanks to the author, Andrea Lynn Colt, for approaching me to review her book, TORCHED. I have to say that at that point I hadn’t been reading a lot of contemporaries since my first loves are dystopians and paranormals, but TORCHED sounded like it had a bit of a mystery in it and could easily sneak its way into my heart. I have to confess that it actually took me a really long time to read, but mostly due to the fact that it was on my Kindle and I just keep forgetting about all the books I have on my Kindle because I frequently revel in the glory that is my bookcase and then panic because of all the books that sit on it that I haven’t read yet. Anyway, I’m glad I finally finished and I promise that I’m working much harder on reading my Kindle books!
Senior Rose Whitfield has a problem. Okay, a huge problem. Someone set her boyfriend Ryan’s boat on fire – Well, his parents’ boat – and for some reason everyone thinks it was Rose. That’s probably because of the scandalous pictures of Ryan and another girl that they found on the boat with her fingerprints on it in a trashcan that was deemed the source of the fire. Yikes. To top that off, Rose was just about to give her virginity to Ryan and then she finds out about this ordeal… And to make matters even one step worse, Ryan doesn’t believe that Rose is innocent and the relationship that Rose was so close to taking one step further is now close to kaput.
So Rose finds herself defending her name and struggling to prove that she didn’t set a boat on fire, but in the mean time, things get even more serious. None of her friends seem to believe her – Even her best friend Alina, or should we say ex-best friend and now number one enemy. Ironically the only person that believes her is ex-number one enemy Paxton who Rose has had a prank war with ever since the eighth grade. Along the way, Rose has to learn to trust Paxton and team up with him to help clear her name because let’s face it – she had no one else to lean on.
Can Rose clear her name and finally dodge this felony charge? Will she ever be able to get her friends and her boyfriend back? And who really set this boat on fire anyway?
Okay, so this book was pretty cute. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it, really. Let’s talk about Rose a bit, shall we? Privileged Rose living in her mansion with her rich parents. Yipes. Not someone I easily identify with but AH, here comes the point – Now no one identifies with her because she’s an arsonist! Once she’s put in a tough spot, I really did start to see a lot in her character that I liked. She went through a lot of crazy situations and started to realize that maybe she wasn’t as nice as she always thought she had been, especially once people started immediately turning against her. Did I think it was unrealistic that EVERYONE turned against her? Sure. I mean, she went from head cheerleader and best friend to the Queen Bee of the school to complete no one (well, she was still a cheerleader). I was just left wondering why every single person seemed to turn on her and the ones that hadn’t were too meek to stand up to anyone and keep their friendship with Rose.
Then we come to Paxton – the one person that should hate Rose the most but then ends up becoming the one person who loves her. Turns out all those pranks were done out of love (aw. Or the jealousy and anger that was behind unrequited love). The relationship that developed between Rose & Paxton was definitely my favorite part of the book. I felt like it developed so naturally between them and that makes sense since they used to be BFFs before Paxton had enough and cut them off. Watching that relationship rekindle gave me the tinglies and there are definitely a few PG-13 scenes that made me say, “Oh boy!”
Overall, I’d give it maybe a 7.5/10. I think I was hoping for just a bit more detective work as far as hunting down the culprit of the arson, but I liked the characters a lot.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 7. Rose was a tough cookie for me to crack throughout the whole book. I did like how she figured out some of her life in the end and realized some major errors in her ways, but at the same time there was still something about her I just didn’t full connect with. She did redeem herself a lot in the end but I wouldn’t say we’re BFFs.
How much did I like the love interest: 8. Ryan who? Paxton was the way to go on this! I can’t tell you how much I love stories about relationships that blossom from those old friendships. Maybe I’m just a sucker for it because I ended up dating my next-door neighbor (in 7th grade… if hanging out even really counts as dating since we were 12?) but those best friend-turned-boyfriend relationships always give me butterflies! Paxton was a really likeable character, although I wasn’t completely ga-ga.
How believable is the plot: 6. Being framed for arson is one thing but I think it went a little too deep into the forensics behind it. These ARE teenagers here. I don’t know how they got the equipment or the know-how or even the idea to plant Rose’s fingerprints so I wasn’t totally on board with that idea. Without spoiling anything there were a couple more nearly-unbelievable stipulations to pulling off that perfect framing that I didn’t really see happening. I also wasn’t too sure about ALL of her friends just up and abandoning her… Really? Not one person to stick by her side? The romance side of it was totally believable though so I was all for that!
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. I really enjoyed the writing and everything seemed to flow smoothly. Characters were very well defined and the language felt appropriate for the book.
How much did I want to keep reading: 6. I know I blamed in on my Kindle earlier, but in all honesty, it is part plot and characters. Kindle is only part of it. And all the other mess of books that I have constantly lined up! But seriously. It was good and it was fun, but I didn’t have that drive to really keep reading and I never felt like I was dying to know “whodunit”. I’m glad I did finish of course but it took me a while there.
Final Score: 7.2/10. TORCHED was a nice, light book even though parts of it were kind of crazy (like all the people being charged for felonies). Overall I enjoyed it enough to recommend for other people to try, but I admit I read it in quite a few parts because I kept putting it down and coming back. I liked the characters, but not as much as I had hoped, but I do think the romance saved the day! Definitely a good spark to keep me plugging along.