Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Burning Blue

Griffin, Paul (Author)
Penguin Random House 2014. 296 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780142425145 (paperback)
9780803738157 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Mystery

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When Jay, a sensitive teenager and brilliant hacker, meets Nicole, a popular girl who had acid thrown in her face, he’s inspired to find her attacker. The mystery plays out with satisfying speed while the plot interweaves multiple threads. Intimate, genuine moments between Jay and Nicole contrast with confrontational scenes with Jay’s alcoholic father who was behind the wheel during the accident that killed his mother and left Jay with recurring seizures.

Written in the first person, the text has the thrill of mystery told through the perspective of a clever and caring teenager: “What was under the bandage? Or what wasn’t? How much had she lost? How much was she still losing?” He understands Nicole’s isolation because he has also faced negative attention after he had a seizure at school, one that was filmed and disseminated. Alienation runs deep throughout, along with themes of status, bullying, and self-harm.

Jay remains an ally to Nicole, as well as a ruthless hacker, in his quest to find her attacker, even siphoning information from the local detective’s Blackberry. Everyone’s a suspect, including his father and Nicole herself. In addition to Jay’s voice, we are occasionally privy to Nicole’s journals that serve to deepen the plot.

After an epic and at times dangerous mission to reveal the culprit, Nicole and Jay are finally able to acknowledge their feelings for each other.

  •  

    The novel incorporates elements of mystery, crime and realistic fiction for young adults. Readers should keep track of the conventions of genre in a reader-writer’s notebook.

  •  

    In small reading groups, discuss the way this story adheres to its expected conventions (as a mystery, as a crime story, as a realistic YA novel). Use examples from the text to support ideas during discussion.

  •  

    Use this story as part of a text set for a genre study of crime fiction and mysteries written for young adults. Use information gathered during reading and discussion to explore a variety of examples from the genre. Keep notes on findings to inform future written productions and responses.

  •  In a small group, discuss what you believe teenagers value more: inner or outer beauty.
  •  While you read, take note of the moments or events that bring Nicole and Jay closer together. Do you believe their relationship will blossom into a romance?
  •  

    As Nicole, write a letter to your mother in the hospital, telling her how you feel and what you believe the future holds for both of you, as well as for you and Jay.

  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences
  • Ugly (R. Hoge) (Topic)