Arson Gable is 17 years old and doesn't have anything he enjoys in life. He lives out in a dilapidated house with his senile grandmother. He works at a thankless job where his boss and co-workers are rude. He has a crush on the most beautiful girl in town who is obviously out of his league. There also happens to be the fact that he can create fires with his mind. Arson's convinced he has nothing to live for, until Emery Phoenix moves in next door. With her face hidden behind a mask, Arson finds out that Emery has just as many problems as he does. Could the two of them possibly find an escape in each other?
This book was so dark and mature, I almost don't think it should be classified as YA. It is definitely different than any other YA book I've read, and that's a good thing.
You won't find any goody-two-shoes characters here. Everyone in this story is somehow damaged. God, Arson's life sucked. I wanted to feel pity for him, but I don't think that was somehow fitting. He was so obviously being played by Mandy...but I think he knew it, and it didn't matter to him because he had some positive human interaction. Never mind that it wasn't real.
Emery is not only physically flawed, she is emotionally damaged as well. Her parents' marriage is dissolving, and neither of them have exactly been good role models for her. As a result of both Arson's and Emery's lack of social interactions, neither one of them quite knows how to treat the other. They certainly don't fit the typical YA relationship mold. They are often awkward around each other and one of them always says the wrong thing.
I guess, from the title, I would have expected more action scenes involving fire. But Arson is a book about its' characters more than its' plot. Readers experience points of view from several people, and it is fascinating to see the inner workings of some of their minds. Not that knowing their internal monologues justifies some of their horrible actions, but it does give more insight into their personalities.
My jaw was wide open during the last few chapters of the book. The ending was definitely unexpected and I can't wait to see what happens next. Estevan Vega's writing is lyrical and mature, so it will be my pleasure to read more of his work.