(you) set me on fire
razorbill an imprint of
I read a lot of books, averaging over a hundred a year this past ten years. There are a very few books I cannot put down. This was one of them. From the beginning you could see Allison Lee's life heading towards a train wreck and yet could not stop watching as events unfolded. Mariko Tamaki has written an amazing novel and though being published towards the Young Adult audience will likely garner a much wider following.
This story follows Allison Lee through her first year in a women's residence at university. No, Allison is not your typical frosh (if there is such a thing). Twice in the summer before she started university, she was set on fire, once by someone else and once by herself. In fact, combined they almost prevented her parents from letting her go away to school. Allison wants to start fresh, start new, but she has the glaring burn scar on the side of her neck. So she decides she can be whoever she wants at her new school. Unfortunately she makes some bad decisions and the school year heads downhill fast.
Tamaki does an amazing job of capturing university life; the freedom of being away from home, the transition from regimented high school to come-and-go university classes, to visits to the dean's office. And all this wrapped around the story of Allison finding herself in love again and about to be burned again. It was an amazing read. I highly recommend it.
Books by Mariko Tamaki:
Emiko Superstar ( with Steve Rolston)
Skim (with Jillian Tamaki)
(You) Set Me on Fire
Author profile and interview with Mariko Tamaki.