This book was hard to put down, not because of a thrilling plot or suspenseful tone, but because the words just felt so good. The narrator is a highly intelligent yet somewhat delinquent teenage girl living in a remodeled garage with her elderly aunt. She copes with the recent traumatic loss of her parents by setting things on fire in attempts to join her school’s Arson Club. This unique novel is wrought with jagged, off-beat humor and subtle devastation that will almost convince you to become an arsonist yourself.
"Ball has created a voice that echoes the beloved narrators of J. D. Salinger and John Green. . . . With her tragic past, brilliant mind and subversive potential, Lucia could be thought of as a young Lisbeth Salander, or a high-IQ, antiheroic Katniss Everdeen, but with a better sense of humor." --Newsday Lucia Stanton's father is dead, her mother is in a mental hospital, and she's recently been kicked out of school--again. Living with her aunt in a garage-turned-bedroom, and armed with only a book, a Zippo lighter, and a pocketful of stolen licorice, she spends her days riding the bus to visit her mom and following the only rule that makes any sense: Don't do things you aren't proud of. When Lucia discovers that her school has a secret Arson Club, her life is suddenly lit up; she'll do anything to join. Edgy, raw, and hilarious, How to Set a Fire and Why is a thrilling story about growing up the hard way.
About the Author
JESSE BALL (1978- ). Born in New York. The author of fourteen books, most recently the novel How to Set a Fire and Why. His works have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, won the 2008 Paris Review Plimpton Prize, was long-listed for the National Book Award, and has been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.