Thursday, July 16, 2009

Playing with Matches. By Brian Katcher

By: Brian Katcher
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0385735445
Date: July 8, 2008


This book tells the story of a Missouri high school student named Leon Sanders and his experience of finding a first love relationship with a girl named Melody. Melody was permanently disfigured by an exploding oil lamp when she was four and her face was severely burned. Leon hurts Melody by cheating on her with Amy Green, the most beautiful girl in school, only to find out that looks do not always lead to happiness. Leon then sets out to try everything possible to win Melody back.


I found this book engaging! I started reading and could not put the book down until I finished it. The format was easy to follow and the moral of the story was well presented. For example, after Leon goes out with the gorgeous Amy, he realizes that they have nothing in common and that she treats him like a servant. Leon realizes that he really misses Melody and wishes he had her back and Amy’s physical beauty cannot compare to a deep connecting friendship/relationship he had with Melody. The author’s writing format made this story enjoyable and easy to follow.

Potential Use:

I feel this book could be selected as leisure reading or could be a great one to use in a reading club. Since this book has a moral to the story this would be a good book for high school readers. I feel that this book could be used as a tool to get teenagers to understand that looks are not everything and real beauty comes from within. I really feel teenage males would enjoy this book because of the inside view you get through Leon’s dating scene and how certain choices can lead to someone getting hurt. I haven’t come across many books that I feel a teenage boy could possibly relate too. Good book!

Reader Appeal:

This book would appeal to teenagers/young adults. I feel this book would be enjoyed by both males and females. The characters’ experiences in this book can be compared to real life high school drama such as dating, friendships, beauty/disfigurement and social groups. This book also contains amusing moments that help lighten up the dark overtones of a broken heart.

Other Information:

Author's website:
This book was voted as one of the 2009 “Best Books for Young Adults” by the YALSA.

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