(you) Set Me On Fire

Paperback | September 4, 2012

byMariko Tamaki

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Allison Lee is seventeen and off to college in the fall. So far, she’s been in love once (total catastrophe) and on fire twice (also pretty bad). Both love and fire have left their scars.

Looking a little more burnt chicken and a little less radiant phoenix, Allison takes up residence in Dylan Hall (a.k.a. Dyke Hall) at St. Joseph’s College, where she discovers the true gift of freshman year: the opportunity to reinvent yourself. Miles away from the high school she’s happy to leave behind, her all-female dorm is a strange new world, home to new social circles and challenges. Allison still feels like the odd girl out ... until Shar appears. Beautiful and blinding, Shar quickly becomes the sun at the centre of Allison’s universe, drawing her in with dangerous allure.

Will Allison get burned again? And, if she does … what kind of scars will she earn this time?

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From the Publisher

Allison Lee is seventeen and off to college in the fall. So far, she’s been in love once (total catastrophe) and on fire twice (also pretty bad). Both love and fire have left their scars. Looking a little more burnt chicken and a little less radiant phoenix, Allison takes up residence in Dylan Hall (a.k.a. Dyke Hall) at St. Joseph’s Co...

Mariko Tamaki has garnered much acclaim for both her written and performance-based work. The graphic novel Skim (with Jillian Tamaki) was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and received numerous other accolades, including the Doug Wright Award for Best Graphic Novel, the Ignatz Award, and the Joe Schuster Award. Tamaki was al...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.47 × 5.56 × 0.81 inPublished:September 4, 2012Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143180932

ISBN - 13:9780143180937

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark yet hilarious Earlier this year I read In One Person by John Irving – the story of Billy Abbot who has crushes on the wrong people. I think Billy and Allison Lee would have a lot to talk about. You Set Me on Fire is one of those books that manages to be both dark and funny at the same time. There’s a dry sort of humour at work here, and there were a number of times when I caught myself laughing even though the scenario I was laughing at was cruel, or sad – or a bit of both. There’s this sort of spiral of darkness going on here, and it made the book extremely compelling. You wanted everything to turn out ok for Allison, but a part of you also wanted to see how bad things can get. Though Allison is only seventeen she is in her first year of college and I found I could relate to that experience a lot. I think college – at least the first year of it – can be a bit of a dark time for a lot of people. I never understood those people who seemed to adjust to this massive change in their life with such perkiness and ease. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time at university, but it did take some getting used to. People experience homesickness, many break up with their high school boyfriends, classes are a lot harder. There’s a lot of identity crisis going on and it’s easy to lose track of yourself, or make a few too many poor decisions. I think a lot of people will easily be able to relate to Allison and the other characters in this book. Further more Allison is an incredibly sympathetic character. She has been through a lot. She’s bitter and lonely and in way too deep with Shar. This is a toxic friendship if I ever saw one, but I appreciated how complicated Mariko Tamaki made it as these things are almost never purely black and white. There was a bit of a romantic angle to it. But I actually think it was more about relationships in a more general sense. I think Tamaki made a strong point about the inequality of certain relationships and how damaging they can be – both mentally and physically. As a result I think LGBTQ or not will find traces of their own past relationships in this story. Recommendation: You Set Me on Fire is a dark yet comical novel about toxic friendships, being on your own and finding the strength to be yourself. Overall this is a compelling and dangerous story that doesn’t pull any punches. Recommended for anyone who’s ever been made to feel small or insignificant by a partner or friend and those who remember the good old days of trying to find yourself after high school. This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (http://morethanjustmagic.org)
Date published: 2013-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Raw, unnerving and addictive! 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.
Date published: 2012-09-09