By: Daniel Berenson

Published:  December 16, 2012

eBook only

This book came to me through a request from the author.  After reading the synopsis and since I have two sons near the age of the boys in the novel, I decided to give it a shot.

FIREBUG tells the story of Curtis and Bobby, two boys about to enter middle school.  We are introduced to Curtis as he is on the way with his family to visit his Aunt and Uncle on their farm during the summer.  He can’t wait to spend time there riding bikes with his friends and getting candy from the general store.  But within his first two hours there, tragedy strikes.  We are then introduced to Bobby who is starting middle school, and all his wants is a fresh start and to fit in.  He especially wants to be noticed by the pretty girl in his class and when he finally has the guts to talk to her, he is embarrassed and is never able to live it down.  The teasing Bobby faces turns into bullying and his personality becomes non-existent.  Bobby eventually loses interest in school and gets caught up in a plan with his classmate Ryan that will change his life forever.

There is no question this book is about boys and fire but what happens and how these two boys are affected by fire is what I am not going to tell you.  You will have to read the book for that. I can’t say I have ever had a talk with our boys about playing with fire. I guess I just assumed they knew it was dangerous.  There is always that fascination with wanting to help dad build the bonfire or watch things burn, but it hasn’t gone beyond that.  This book takes it to the extreme and is a wake up call for kids and parents everywhere.

The novel, in my opinion, is written for upper-elementary through middle school aged kids.  It doesn’t get too wordy or graphic in detail, but tells enough so that the reader has a idea of the damage, pain, and suffering involved in the novel.  I think the author did an excellent job portraying the attitudes and actions of the boys in the novel in a realistic manner.  There were several passages in the book that I liked, but this description of Curtis’s mom has stuck with me, “but now she looked tired, like a flower pounded by rain.” There are days that I have felt completely exhausted, but this descriptions truly gives the reader an image and a feeling toward Curtis’s mom and all she has been through.  You automatically sympathize with her.

This novel is one that teaches you about the power of courage and friendship.  I will be having our boys read it and for just $3.99, I think you should share it with the boys in your life too.  They won’t forget this story.

Organizations that care for burn survivors, including the Shriners Hospital and the Jaycees, will receive 20% of the net profits from the sale of this book. 

Daniel Berenson believes so strongly in FIREBUG and it’s message that he has self-published it.  He wrote this after extensive research with the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Unit at Chapel Hill Memorial Hospital, a burn survivor and his family, school administrators, a psychologist, a fire investigator, and an attorney. Berenson is a retired teacher and writer of novels, short story collections, poetry, and joke books for kids.

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author for the purpose of this review.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  

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