Burn Baby Burn Baby, by Kevin Craig
Genre: contemporary, young-adult
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: December 11, 2014
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky
Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
I have two younger half-brothers, by-products of Mom’s mistake number two (MNT). My old man
being mistake number one (MNO), obviously. Mom hates her life. If I were down there with them,
she’d have three people to yell at. I like to steer clear whenever I can. The boys haven’t clued in to
this yet, that they can actually escape the shrew simply by walking away.
With them yelling downstairs, I can throw the earphones on and almost completely drown them out.
It’s not the same as running away and being free of them, but it’s the next best thing. Mom has
confirmed that she is going on a non-date, so the coast should be clear by about seven.
I guess I should clarify the non-date thing. Mom swore off men after MNT. She said she was never
going to date again. “I’m done with the pig males of our species.” Mom doesn’t think things through
before she bitches. If she did, she may have realized I was one of those said pigs. As are her robot
twins. Oh well. I guess it’s better we hear it from her than some other man-hater down the road.
Anyway, she never goes on dates. But she does go out with men. In her mind, if she doesn’t call it a
date, she’s not dating. Hence, the non-dates she goes on. As long as she’s out of the house, I’m
Waiting for Trig’s call is excruciating. He’s like a lifeline. He saves me from the rest of my monotonous
life. From myself, if you must know the truth.
When he finally calls, I don’t hear the phone ring. Yeah, we still have a landline. Mom won’t let me
get a cell phone. She says my friends can call me at home or talk to me at school. She says it straight-
faced, like I get calls all the time. Like people other than Trig are actually talking to me. Ha.
Paul and Simon slam into my room together, burst through the door, and are just suddenly there.
Yeah, Mom’s a Paul Simon fan. She didn’t see anything redneck about naming her twins after a
famous singer. That’s the kind of person she is.
“Hey, moron,” Paul screeches. “Phone’s for you. It’s Trig.”
As he’s saying this Simon is lunging for my bed, phone in his outstretched hand. It clocks me on the
“Ow!” I say. “You douche. Get out of my room, you two super-freaks!”
“I’m telling Mom,” Paul says as he leaves and slams his way downstairs yelling, “Mommmm” all the
Simon is still sprawled on top of me, trying to hand me the phone. “Take it, doof,” he says. He’s still
laughing at his landing.
I pin him down and tickle him mercilessly. “Take what? Take what?” I say, looking left to right
“Fran— cissssss!” But he’s laughing too hard to say anything else.
“What am I supposed to take, bud? What? Speak up?”
He’s about to piss himself, he’s laughing so hard. He couldn’t speak if he wanted to.
“Oh. Oh. This?” I tickle him harder and he starts to slip off the bed. I grab the phone from his hand on
his way down. I put the phone to my ear and say, “Hey!” as Simon thumps to the floor.
“You’re such a dick,” Trig says, but I can tell he’s laughing. “Sounded like the kid couldn’t even
breathe. Nice big brother you are.”
Simon is kind of limping out of the room, pretending he’s hurt, but still giggling. He trails out and
down the stairs to join in on the screaming. I think Simon might actually be my favourite person in
the universe. But I would deny it if anyone asked. Paul’s a nerdy scientist geek moron loser, but I love
him like a brother. Truly.
About The Author:
Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.
Find Kevin Craig Online:
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