The Resource How to set a fire and why, Jesse Ball

How to set a fire and why, Jesse Ball

Label
How to set a fire and why
Title
How to set a fire and why
Statement of responsibility
Jesse Ball
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Lucia has been kicked out of school, again, this time for stabbing a boy in the neck with a pencil. Her father is dead; her mother is in a mental institute; and she's living in a garage-turned-bedroom with her aunt. Making her way through the world with only a book, a Zippo lighter, and a pocket full of stolen licorice, Lucia spends her days riding the bus to visit her mother in The Home, avoiding the landlord who hates her, and following the only rule that makes any sense: Don't Do Things You Aren't Proud Of. When Lucia starts at Whistler High it seems no different from the schools that came before: girls play field hockey, chasing the ball like dogs, the school psychologist has beanbag chairs in her office, and detention means sitting silently surrounded by stupid people ("I am a veteran of detention"). But when Lucia discovers a secret Arson Club, she will do anything to be a part of it. With a biting wit and striking intelligence that she can't fully hide, Lucia animates her small-town life: the parties at an abandoned water park, visits to the 24-hour donut shop where her friend Lana's cousin works, the little island in the middle of a medical park where kids go to drink. As Lucia's fascination with the Arson Club grows, her chronicle becomes a riveting story of family, loss, misguided friendship, and destruction"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2016.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ In Ball’s latest imaginative and provocative novel (following A Cure for Suicide, 2015), Lucia seizes her place among American literature’s brainy, questioning, besieged, and determined young female narrators, from Frankie in The Member of the Wedding (1946) to her contemporaries in Joe Meno’s Office Girl (2012), Stephanie Kuehnert’s Ballads of Suburbia (2009), and Michelle Latiolais’ She (2016). Lucia lives with her kind, utterly unconventional, and penniless aunt in a converted garage because her father is dead and her mother is institutionalized. Her most cherished possession is her father’s Zippo lighter, and no one could be more primed for joining the secret Arson Club than she. Ball’s pitch-perfect voicing is mesmerizing as Lucia chronicles her experiences to help her make sense of her predicament. A pithy, deadpan-funny, scalpel-sharp, and, beneath her flinty adolescent bravura, deeply compassionate observer, Lucia recounts her increasingly harrowing misadventures and presents a fiery manifesto about the “ethics of arson” that targets the wealthy ruling class to protest the “system that demoralizes and brutalizes the majority of living people.” Readers will share Ball’s adoration of this incisive and valiant young survivor from whom life cruelly subtracts nearly everything but her incandescent intellect, blazing wit, and radiant sense of justice. -- Seaman, Donna (Reviewed 6/1/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 19, p42)
  • /* Starred Review */ The beautifully blunt narration of a gifted delinquent propels this excellent sixth novel from the author of A Cure for Suicide. Orphaned after the death of her father and her mother’s subsequent institutionalization, young Lucia Stanton finds herself expelled from high school (the specific location of which is never given) for stabbing a star athlete with a pencil. Entrusted to the care of her elderly, sagely aunt, Lucia transfers to Whistler High, where, in the form of a secret arson society, she discovers an outlet for her inner turmoil. Penning her own pamphlet on fire starting (the titular “How To Set a Fire and Why”), Lucia details a philosophy that smartly parallels the novel’s own—namely, that writing literature is, like arson, an act of creation and destruction. The few successful friendships and personal bonds Lucia makes are swiftly undone by a late-act tragedy, but, in the book’s pyromaniacal finale, Lucia finds a thrilling form of freedom. In an age of blandly interchangeable YA narrators, this novel is a song of teenage heartbreak sung with a movingly particular sadness, a mature meditation on how actually saying something, not just speaking, is what most makes a voice human. Agent: Becky Sweren, Kuhn Projects. (July) --Staff (Reviewed 04/04/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 14, p)
  • A troubled adolescent girl dreams of setting fire to the world. It starts with a stabbing and ends with a conflagration, and, in between, the novel never once telegraphs where it's going. Serial surrealist Ball (A Cure for Suicide, 2015, etc.) has been justly accused of a variety of experimental ploys, but you can't deny that when he delivers, it's never quite what you expected. In this stark epistolary novel, the author fully occupies the inner life of a teenage girl, Lucia Stanton, who is writing down her experiences. When we meet her, she's in the principal's office for stabbing a boy who touched her most treasured possession, her dead father's Zippo lighter. "So, I said, many times I said it, don't touch this lighter or I will kill you," she writes. "I think because I am a girl people thought I didn't mean it." Lucia lives with her kindly but destitute aunt in a converted garage with an overgrown garden. She makes predictions—not telling the future, she stresses—and writes them down in The Book of How Things Will Go. She's not as profane as Salinger's Holden Caulfield, but they share a certain aimlessness and cynicism about adults that rings true. Over the course of the novel, Lucia visits her ailing mother, gets high, flunks out of school, and ultimately falls in with some disillusioned young people in an Arson Club that dares her to start a fire. She also pens a brilliant pamphlet of the same title that's nested within the pages of her scribblings. "It takes you some years to become the person who can burn a building, so be it," she writes. "Carry your matches in your pocket, look at the faces of those who surround you in the crowd. Are we not all the same? Do we not all strive to simply have enough?" A brilliant portrayal of a girl who's quite aware of what she's going through.(Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10496966
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1978-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Ball, Jesse
Dewey number
813/.6
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Teenage girls
  • Pyromania
  • Arson
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Coming of Age
  • FICTION / Psychological
  • Arson
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Pyromania
  • Teenage girls
Label
How to set a fire and why, Jesse Ball
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1594464
Dimensions
20 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
283 pages
Isbn
9781101870570
Lccn
2015017989
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
40026217395
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781101870570
  • (OCoLC)908517375
Label
How to set a fire and why, Jesse Ball
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1594464
Dimensions
20 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
283 pages
Isbn
9781101870570
Lccn
2015017989
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
40026217395
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781101870570
  • (OCoLC)908517375

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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      30.3632362 -97.6984619
    • Pleasant Hill BranchBorrow it
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      30.1922461 -97.7771661
    • Spicewood Springs BranchBorrow it
      8637 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78759, US
      30.4337083 -97.7730809
    • Willie Mae Kirk BranchBorrow it
      3101 Oak Springs Dr., Austin, TX, 78723, US
      30.2729762 -97.699748
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