All it takes is one spark
William Tucker loves being a volunteer firefighter (maybe it’s no coincidence that a pastor’s son would enjoy saving people). And after he rescues his crush, Mandy Pearman, she undergoes a profound transformation for the better. In fact, it seems like a lot of good comes from the embers of tragedy in his small Alabama town. William may not be able to meet his father’s expectations, force his mother to ditch the gin, or protect his gay brother, but for those who need a second chance at life, William isn’t afraid to light the match—and become the hero the town needs.
When I first read the blurb for this book, it sounded really good. I thought it would be a much deeper read and the story that I was expecting wasn’t the story that I got. This story features William Tucker, a boy from Alabama that is short, works at the grocery store, has a crush on Mandy Pearson and is a volunteer firefighter. He’s the son of a preacher man and has a gay brother. He grew up in a small town where everybody knows your name and your business. They have strict moral codes and they like things a certain way.
The thing about this book was that it really dragged for me. It was hard for me to give a crap what Wee Wee (Will’s nickname, what a name, right?) was going through because the book was so slow. The story moved at a snails pace and I kept waiting for the book to take off and for me, it never really did. Add to that, Will starts starting fires for no other reason than to shake things up and so that he can, I don’t know, play the hero? Who knows but he’s starting these fires and it pissed me off that the fire chief didn’t put two and two together, soon enough. The one link that all of those fires had were Will and nobody suspected him. Then there was the unfair treatment of Steven and Buck didn’t do the story any favors in my opinion (all it did was piss me off even more) and then there was Mandy and Mr. Simmons and just, well…most of the secondary characters aside from Steven and Samantha were all characters that weren’t memorable at all. Mandy was pretty and after the fire scare, she turns into this different person but that’s it. She’s supposed to have been this big part of Will’s fantasies and yet, after she changes, that’s about all that’s said about her. Then Mr. Simmons gets fired for the student at school that gets burned in his class (the student that almost died) and he gets suspended and then they take his position away and that’s it. The connection to the story as a whole didn’t really do much to keep my attention and because of that, I struggled to enjoy this book.
I struggled with trying to understand Will’s need to start those fires. Throughout the entire book, I struggled. I struggled to stay interested in the story, I struggled to like Will and I even struggled with Steven, who to me was one of the more likable characters in this book. The way that he forced Buck to come out of the closet with him, didn’t sit well with me and even though I thought Steven was a good person, I wasn’t surprised with the way his storyline turned out. I was bummed by it but not surprised. By the time the book ended, I was glad that I got through it all.
I can’t say that I enjoyed this book as a whole but there were parts that I enjoyed. I enjoyed Samantha and Will’s friendship. I liked that she wasn’t at all worried about the picture they made together. The tall black girl and the short white boy, he was her friend and to hell with what anyone thought. As much fun as Samantha was, this book was too slow for me to care how it ended and that bummed me out because I really wanted to like this book. But that ending? Holy mother of shut your mouth, what the hell kind of ending was that? That ending with the rest of the story? Yeah, I wasn’t a fan but I’m not going to give this book an F. I liked Samantha and Steven (even when he was too pushy on poor Buck) too much to give this book an F.
..and that’s your scoop!
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Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com