19 Oct 2016

#Review: (YOU) SET ME ON FIRE by Mariko Tamaki


Author: Mariko Tamaki
Source: Purchased from BookOutlet
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Rating: 3/5 stars

Allison Lee is seventeen and off to college in the fall. So far, she's been in love once (total catastrophe) and on fire twice (also pretty bad). Both love and fire have left their scars. 

Looking a little more burnt chicken and a little less radiant phoenix, Allison takes up residence in Dylan Hall (a.k.a Dyke Hall) at St. Joseph's College, where she discovers the true gift of freshmen year: the opportunity to reinvent herself. Miles away from the high school she's happy to leave behind, her all-female dorm is a strange new world, home to new social circles and challenges. Allison still feels like the odd girl out... until Shar appears. Beautiful and blinding, Shar quickly becomes the sun at the centre of Allison's universe, drawing her in with dangerous allure.

Will Allison get burned again? And, if she does... what kind of scars will she earn this time?

I'm on the fence about this one but I did enjoy it. I feel like the writing was a bit off for me but the plot and story was really good. I liked that it really showed how first year of university occurs. It was pretty great in that sense but the writing wasn't for me which made it hard to connect with Allison.

I liked the look at making friends in university and what that means for how you start to behave in university. For a lot of people, university is a clean slate and starting over, much like it was for our main character, Allison. I liked that Allison started by hanging out with people that were different from her typical type of people and that she was branching out. But I really connected and understood when she started hanging out with Shar. Shar was what Allison thought she wanted to be: aloof, hating things, and a little rude. She had an air of pretentiousness above her because she seemed like she didn't really care about anything that was happening around her and Allison clung to that. And it was intoxicating because I saw how it would spiral and at the same time I didn't want it to spiral. Their relationship was really interesting to me.

And I think it was well explored but the conclusion was a little too easy for me. I feel like there would have been more fall out and backlash than what occurred. As well, I thought that Allison let it go kind of easily considering how hard she was trying to fight for Shar in the beginning. I also thought think I just wanted more time to see Allison explore herself and her relationships with both friends and university life outside of Shar rather than the hasty epilogue we got. I wanted to really see Allison hunker down and get to work rather than just have her tell us she did that.

Overall I think this was a really good exposition of what it's like to learn to be yourself when you're allowed to be whomever you want to be. And I liked that most people still defaulted into who they always were because that is generally the trend. I just wish there had been a bit more about Allison and how she learned to handle her life on her own. As well, I could not get into the writing style which really distracted me from the actual story. I still would recommend checking this one out!

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