Not every problem comes with an easy solution. Jeff was a complex and intriguing character. There were times when I was annoyed by his flaws, but that was actually a good thing. He felt like a real person to me because of them. His behavior did have a negative effect on people in certain scenes, but there were other instances where his strengths brought out the best in him. I enjoyed seeing him from so many different angles as he showed off the full range of his personality. It would have been helpful to have more time spent developing Jeff and Braeden’s relationship. I loved the idea of them as a couple, but there wasn’t quite enough flirtation between the two of them to give me hope that they might end up together. Instead, they danced around the topic for longer than I would have liked to see. If there had been more romance in the plot, I would have chosen a much higher rating than the already good one I picked for this book. The subplots complemented the main storyline nicely, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much was going on with the characters in this book in general. Not only was Jeff dealing with multiple problems, so were the people he spent the most time with as well. Ms. Huesman balanced out all of their conflicts beautifully, though. The pacing was consistently strong and there was always plenty of space to explain the newest developments in everyone’s lives. I’d recommend Burning Britely to anyone who has ever seen a bad habit get the best of them.
With Jeff Young’s fantastic grades, he should be a great tutor. But he’s terrible with human interaction. “You’re an asshole,” is not a unique phrase to him. Jeff’s all right with that. His past proves most people are assholes.
Even with his reputation, he takes it too far when he uses a textbook to save the track star, Braeden, from a goose attack. Braeden is everything Jeff is not. Tall. Charming. Has 20/20 vision. And would never, ever wipe his mouth after a girl kisses him.
Braeden insists on getting to know Jeff. Jeff vacillates between wanting to know him and wanting to punch him in the mouth. Then he discovers the darkness rippling beneath Braeden’s deceptively easy-going persona. As Braeden confides his secrets, Jeff does the one thing that’s socially suicidal:
He falls in love with the very popular, very straight Braeden Britely.
14+ due to sexuality, violence, and adult situations
As he typed in his student password, the chair beside him scraped back on tile so old it had begun to powder. An increasingly familiar voice said, “Everyone says I should thank you.”
What the hell does he want from me? Jeff stared straight ahead. While it was one of the better computers, it still took forever to log in. All he had to watch was a swirling circle icon. “Huh.”
“It would seem”—Scrape, scrape, went the chair—“that you saved my”—Long legs swung over the seat—“quote beautiful face unquote”—Two fingers mimicked the quotation marks—“so I owe you one.” And Braeden was sitting backward on the rickety metal chair, well within Jeff’s periphery. Jeff felt the track star’s gaze bore into him, green and hot and burning so Braeden brightly.
With the barest of glances, Jeff said, “Think you need a second opinion.”
“I’ve saved prettier faces.”
Braeden laughed. It was loud and deep, and affected Jeff far more than he wanted to admit. The muscles bunched at his neck.
“I bet you have,” said Braeden.
“What do you want?”
“Like I said, I owe you.”
Jeff shook his head. “You lost to a bird. I don’t want that kind of pathetic equivalent in my debt.”
Braeden’s responding smile was toothy. “Are you always this nice?”
“Precisely this nice.”
“I can dig it.”
Jeff’s fingers curled into a ball beside the keyboard. “Didn’t ask you to.”
“That’s the spirit!” The bell rang, cutting off Jeff’s retort. Braeden stood and winked. “Guess you’re my personal Napoleon in shining armor, huh?”
“Oh, real clever,” said Jeff. “A short joke. Ha, ha.”
“Mr. Young,” snapped the teacher. “The bell rang. Sit down.”
He hadn’t realized he’d stood. Jeff pressed his lips tight together and shot Braeden a dirty look. From where he’d retreated to the back, Braeden grinned and waggled his good fingers. Jeff sat, hating that every stare was on him, and hating Braeden for it.
Once class started, the teacher retreated to his computer while the seniors chatted about next month’s issue. Jeff had resigned himself to research for another project when a blinking notification popped up in the task bar. With a frown, he clicked on it and a small window emerged.
No1TrackStar: hey ;)
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Jeff under his breath. He dared a glance toward the back, but Braeden was casually chatting with the girl next to him. Through the gaps between other computer screens, Jeff noticed a large, tanned hand resting on a mouse—like Braeden was ready to click on something at a moment’s notice.
He almost closed out of the window. Instead, he wrote back.
JeffY: Nice username. Real modest.
There was a long pause. After the pause turned into a minute, then two, then five, Jeff closed out of the window. He wasn’t sure if the unfurling sensation in his stomach was relief or annoyance … or even disappointment.
A few minutes later, a new notification came through. His stomach began to inch toward his chest. Jeff reluctantly clicked.
Jeff covered his mouth to hide a bemused smile. He glanced around. Nobody was watching. His brief moment of infamy was gone, just like that. Had Maya’s comment spread so quickly, actually done him a favor?
JeffY: Yeah, actually.
This time, the responses were faster.
No1QuackVictim: you gonna tell me why you hate me so much?
JeffY: Never said I did.
No1QuackVictim: you really are just this rude to everyone?
JeffY: I thought I was clear about that.
No1QuackVictim: lol ok fair but then why save me?
Jeff rubbed his mouth. Why, in that moment, had Brenda’s kiss come back to him? And why had the memory nosedived into a fantasy, where Brenda’s lips had become wider, firmer, drier? Why was her jawline more angular?
And why did it excite him this time? He wasn’t even sure he liked this dude. Could all this fuss be so simple as physical attraction?
He drew a couple slow, deep breaths to calm himself.
JeffY: No one else was doing anything. Figured you wanted all your fingers.
No1QuackVictim: lol yah 8 is better than 0
A small smile tugged the corner of Jeff’s mouth.
JeffY: Don’t be dramatic. At most you’d have lost five.
No1QuackVictim: naw man once they taste human blood they dont go back
JeffY: That’s sharks. And bears. Not geese.
No1QuackVictim: ill trust your judgment napoleon
Well, thought Jeff irritably, that camaraderie hadn’t lasted long. He exited out of the window and resumed his research. A new tab blinked a few times, but he ignored it. It kept his mind on Braeden, though, and his normally linear thoughts kept doing little whirls into chaos.
Attractive upper-tiers are always arrogant. Who does he think he is? I can’t help being short, but he can help being an asshole. Who cares if he has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen?
Burning Britely is a standalone novel by Deidre Huesmann. This is my first novel by this author. A story about self-acceptance, friendship, and family, it follows two boys Jeff and Braeden. Jeff is not good with talking to people nor is he one to join a crowd. He feels the most comfortable studying and has his future all planned out. “Studying wasn’t exactly a thrilling hobby, but he liked it just fine. It was comfortable, soothing, and predictable. It also helped him toward his goal of graduating senior valedictorian. Sure, he was a junior now, but what was the point if he hadn’t hit the ground running? He knew the stats—even taking the seniors into account, his GPA was fifth highest in the school.” He’s only a junior but his main goal is to be senior valedictorian. Braeden is popular, and track star. After an event brings them together, Jeff finds himself drawn to Braeden, a boy who is his opposite. While use to being unknown, Jeff is now hearing whisper everywhere he goes and kept help but feel flustered whenever Braeden’s name is mentioned. It was a short read and I wish it was longer but it pulled me in from the beginning and all I wanted to do was read. I really hope at some point, we get to see these characters again. Maybe in college. For someone looking for a quick, lovable and enjoyable read, I recommend this.
Burning Britely by Deidre Huesmann was the first time I had read anything from Huesmann and I truly enjoyed the novel. It was a short, yet jam-packed, novel. I would definitely recommend it to those that are looking for a coming of age story to share with their teens or tweens that are questioning their place in the world. It really resounds with that part of all of us as humans that always fight that slight struggle to figure out where we fit amongst the crowd we are floating among at the time. My daughter is currently eleven years old and I would say that she would be able to read and enjoy this in a year or two from now. I would recommend this as one of those conversation starter books, or book club books to read with your tween/teen clubs. In this story we find out all about Jeff, who turns out to be the social outcast of the high school. He is the awkward one without a clique to fall into. When he is assigned to tutor the star athlete of the school, Braeden, he knows this will lead to nowhere good. Everyone loves Braeden and Braeden loves everyone. What neither expect is for a friendship to blossom between them. Even more shocking Jeff begins to develop romantic feelings for Braeden. In fact, he has fallen in love with Braeden Britely. The emotions! Holy cow are they ever flowing in this book! I was up and then down, and it was a non-stop ride from beginning to end with this book. I loved how this was relatable at thirty-three just as much as I could see it being relatable to a younger adult. This is the stuff we need to be out there discussing with our children. Talking about and bringing to the forefront, making it normal and ok to be open about. These are feelings that happen to people every day. Thank you Deidre Huesmann for bringing them to life and making them approachable. We need more books like this. I can’t wait to see what else is out there from you and what else you have to come.
5-stars Burning Britely by Deidre Huesmann is a book that I devoured in one sitting, I was instantly pulled into the story and I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. Deidre wrote with so much detail that I was able to really connect with the characters, as well as, easily picture everything playing out in my mind. The main character, Jeff Young, is certainly one of a kind. He’s brilliant, honest, straight-forward, peculiar, complex and very misunderstood. I really enjoyed following along with his journey to discovering himself. This young adult read is one that I would absolutely recommend to others, it touches on so many hot topics and it properly portrays the high school experience. It’s raw and real, it had me feeling all kinds of mixed emotions and I found it very easy to relate to the characters. I absolutely loved Braeden’s character and his openness to exploring all avenues in life. I would love to read more about the two of them and their next adventure together!
Emotional: It had it all.... Heartbreak! Surprise, Love and Hate! Very real life. A must have for novelette love stories!
It is a young adult book about being proud of who you are and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed how this story pulled me in right from the beginning and made me feel as if I was right there in the story. I enjoyed the characters are they were lovable and relateable. Jeff was my favorite even though I felt some compassion for him. I enjoyed watching him grow throughout the story and become the person he truly is. An emotional roller coaster with some twists and turns, I highly recommend this book.
As with any good romantic fantasy, this story has all of the components that make it fun to read. There is angst, strong friendships and families and also disfunctional, chaotic families and friends. There is love and self-discovery and self-acceptance. At about 122 pages, this is a very quick and easy read. The characters are well developed and the story has a very distinct beginning, middle and end. There are secondary characters that I want to know more about I would love to keep up with the main characters from this story. I would absolutely recommend to my younger cousins.
The story Burning Britely by Deidre Huesmann is a book that I enjoyed reading. It draws you in from the very beginning and I found myself getting lost in the pages. You feel the emotions of the characters and what they are going through. The two main characters are Jeff and Braeden. Jeff is someone who is not a people person. He is not one to join in a crowd. His interactions with others show this all too well. He finds comfort/predictability in studying. He has his future planned out. Braeden is so different than Jeff. He is a track star, easy-going, and popular. After a situation that has Jeff helping Braeden with a goose attack, he finds himself drawn to Braeden. He feels a pull towards him. Braeden seems determined to start a friendship which leaves Jeff conflicted. Jeff is falling for Braeden. What will happen next? Read this story to find out. This book is set with the two main characters in high school. You are able to feel the social pressures that the characters face and how they deal with them. This story also reminds you of how judgmental and even cruel that some people are to others and the effects that it can have. I also enjoyed reading about a few of the other characters, both the roles that they play in the story and their interactions with Jeff and Braeden. This is a well-written story that I would recommend reading.