Of course I went over and tried to talk to her anyway If there was one thing I learned from my social studies teacher , it was that men seldom followed the sensible course of action Granted, that usually led to wars and televised debate, but still protagonist Leon Sanders, page 238Take some of RJ Palacio s wonderful Wonder and stir it with alighthearted version of Salinger s angst classic The Catcher in the Rye and I think you have Brian Katcher s debut Playing with Matches Leon Sanders is a seventeen year old high school junior, biding his time until life happens to him in the suburban outskirts of St Louis, MO Through first person narration Leon describes how he is the epitome of an average guy in looks, scholastic athletic talent, dating success or lack thereof , etc In the start of the school year he s thrown a curveball school lockers are reassigned and he comes to be neighbors with Melody Melody, a fellow junior, is a loner both by circumstance and by choice when she was very young her face was scarred in a horrible accident She has quietly kept her classmates at arm s length, but because of her looks said classmates have done likewise to her Leon and Melody naturally and pleasingly develop a easygoing friendship based on their similar sense of humor and some common interests Before long they fall into teenage romance a first for both and began dating It was believable, and I was rooting for them But of course the story does not end there because we need a wrench thrown into the works, and that wrench is named Amy.Leon has secretly pined away for bombshell classmate Amy for years Through some plausible plot developments Amy comes to acknowledge and then actually admire Leon She expresses interest in him, and Leon decides to discontinue his relationship with Melody to start dating Amy The grass should be greener, so to speak, but Leon soon wonders if he made a mistake in dismissing Melody Ominously, Amy remarks I could use someone like you right now to a moony Leon on their date Katcher deftly mixes high school pathos with romantic comedy in this solid debut The core trio plus Leon s handful of school friends acquaintances, as well as his parents are all well written characters that seemed quasi realistic The author also wisely doesn t shy away from profanity and sexuality the main characters are teenagers, after all but yet doesn t go overboard with it, and he maintains the right tone Since this book is classified as Young Adult the intended readers will no doubt appreciate Katcher being on the level with the norms and s of American high school life.I really enjoyed Matches, though it occasionally reminds me of moments from my own hormone and heartbreak involved teen years that I d just as soon like to forget Thank goodness for adulthood I also want to really thank GR friend Rebecca M for bringing this great novel to my attention. Unique, funny and relatable Sure I ll read this book again some day5 Time to be honest here I only read this book as a favor to a friend who gave me a stack of books to read I picked this one to read first because it was the one I wanted to read the least The cover did nothing for me and I dreaded starting it Imagine my surprise to discover I couldn t put it down.Leon is a self professed loser He was bullied in middle school and has gotten throgh high school by essentially being invisable But when he has to do a project with the school freak burn victim Melody, he knows attention will come his way Little did he know it would be romantic attention from the girl no one wants to look at Leon manages to work through some of his prejudices about Melody, but throws it all away when beautiful Amy starts to notice him.Yes, the message of it s what s inside that counts is a little heavy, but I didn t care for one second I LOVED the language of this book and found myself reading it outloud to my husband I thought Leon was totally believable often thinking with his brain below the waist like a lot of high school guys I liked him when I was supposed to, wanted to smack him when I was supposed to, but wanted him to be happy in the end A totally satisfying read. I seriously credit this book with having a huge impact on my life September 2011 My freshman year of high school I enjoyed reading, but did VERY little of it However, I had nothing to do in my study hall, so I go to the library to find a book to read This one catches my eye based on its cover that I thought was interesting And so I checked it out, and fell in love This book made me love reading I was hooked and could not put this down Amy mesmerized me I had never read a book before with a female character so risqu doing drugs and whatnot, and again this was September of my first year of high school so I wasn t exposed to much by this point, and it just enthralled me Since this book, I constantly have a book to read and cannot go 3 days after finishing one without starting a new book Everyone should check this novel out It s really not as romance wishy washy as you may think it is based on the description. Katcher, Brian Playing With Matches, 304 pgs Random House Children s Books Language PG 13, Sexual Content PG 13 Violence G Leon dreams of one day hooking up with the beautiful Amy Green Unfortunately, Leon is your typical seventeen year old complete with obnoxious cohorts and girls who are friendsbut not girlfriends More often than not he is concentrating on her in chemistry instead of the teacher Then he is paired with Melody for their history project and things start to change for Leon Melody was involved in a sever accident that left her face badly burned Teased relentlessly since her accident, Melody is used to people not wanting to be around her Being forced to work with Melody, Leon discovers they have much in common and their friendship quickly develops into somethinguntil Amy enters the picture This story maneuvers the reader through the halls of high school life complete with crude language, bawdy humor, and unexpected romance It is a great story about inward beauty and the consequences that come with choices HS Advisable Allison Madsen Teen Librarian SJO Public Librarian I ended up getting this book at a library discard sale at the public library in my town In all the twenty books I got costed 2 Which means I bought this book for 10 cents that is if i did my math correctly, it is currently 3 13 in the morning I would have sold my soul for this book It has a sense of humor, but also a sense of longing for the characters that you don t quite get in every book This is one of those books that you pick up one day because of its intriguing title and exciting cover and find yourself genuinely changed when you put it down When you reach those useless blank pages at the end that make you beg forPlaying with Matches, is now one of my favorite books The moral of this story is one we ve all heard so many times before but this time it s different We are inside the mind of a teenage boy who wants to fit in and be popular but finds himself falling for a girl who everyone is afraid to talk to He actually meets her and talks to her It s great to follow.Naturally my favorite character of the book is Dan Even though he s a basket case he is insightful and evenwise than most of our parents, no matter how old you are Everyone is kind of like Dan in a way On of the themes for this book is that Outcasts aren t really outcasts Dan is looked at like he s insane, when he s really one of the most sane ones in the book Melody has been an outcast ever since she s started school because she looks different She s spent her entire life being told she ugly When in reality she is beautiful inside and out These are some of my favorite quotes from the book because why the hell not In my entire life, I had never had adesperate need to produce fire this is one of my favorites because without context it s really confusing but when you have context its really ironic, im one to find irony in every given situation In a way i envied dan, I feared him even , of course, but at least he was never lonely I wish I never have to be alone but I guess I m never alone I have my thoughts, just like Dan has his She looked like the angel of death in a sweater and jeans It was strange, but there was beauty in that Eerie, but not hideous Making unordinary things seem ordinary For that moment nothing else mattered I long for a moment like this and someday it might just happen I have to wake up in exactly 2 hours and 46 minutes so i should probably sleep, but props to you Brian Katcher I ll be showing this book to all of my friends After all we are all outcasts maybe they will find this book a appealing as i did. SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD LEON SANDERS Has A Mug That Looks Like It Should Be Hanging In A Post Office Somewhere If He Didn T Have His Twisted Sense Of Humor, He D Have Nothing At All So It S No Wonder To Leon And His Friends That The Gorgeous Amy Green Will Never Even Look Twice At Him However, There Is One Girl Who Might Melody Hennon Everyone At Zumner High Keeps Their Distance From Melody Because She Was Burned In A Childhood Accident Leon Has Avoided Her, Too, Until The Day He Tells Her A Bad Joke And Makes Her Laugh Although Leon Worries What People Will Think Of Him Dating Melody, He S Happy To Have Someone In His Life Who Thinks He S Special That Is, Happy Until Amy Green Asks Him Out After Leon Saves Her From Getting Detention Will Leon Give Up A Shot With The Beauty So That He Can Live The Fairy Tale With The Beast mr brian katcher you are officially one of my favorite authors it was oh so funny i laughed quite loudly, i must add and grinned and smiled a lot throughout the book.but it was also kind of. painful a lot of truths were said in this book between looks and personality, looks almost always won that realization was like a rude awakening for me how many times did we bear with the hot guy girl we ve crushed on forever even if they are boring you out of your minds and you have nothing in common at all i found myself hating the protagonist, leon sanders, and loving him he was like so many teen boys, but unlike many of them too, he did the right thing in the end three cheers for leon sanders all the other characters were so real and believable some YA books feels like the author was trying too hard to capture the lives of typical highschoolers and i cringe whenever i read those kind of books but playing with matches was dead on accurate it doesn t feel forced, which i was grateful for.it was a really good read funny and heartfelt. 5 stars is what this book rightly deserves. I read this book two years ago originally I had given it four stars, but now I m giving it 3.5 and rounding it down to three I felt like the main character possessed qualities or a lack of qualities that made himrelatable to the average teenage male This didn t make me like him any less, though.Also, the ending annoyed me It sort of made the entire book pointless, at least plot wise If the author had the intention of utilizing this work as a wake up call to all the individuals who judge others solely based on appearance, good for him that s the book s strength but otherwise, I m not so sure what Brian Katcher was attempting to accomplish. Oh wow, you could really see into the characters heads, the honesty was brutal and brilliant When he went to kiss her ear my heart broke Well done Mr Katcher, well done.