Katcher, Brian. (2008). Playing with Matches. New York: Delacorte Press.
Textbook Chapter: 4
Subgenre: Realistic Fiction
Possible Curriculum Connections: High School English Class
Playing with Matches is a novel about a 17 year old boy named Leon and his experiences with love. Leon is a high school student who is not part of the "in" crowd. He rarely goes on dates, has a few friends, and is beginning to wonder why others do not want to hang out with him. However, he befriends a classmate named Melody, who has severe facial scars from a burn she suffered in childhood. A friendship quickly blossoms into a relationship, and the two are very happy together. However, Amy, a popular girl who Leon has had a crush on since elementary school, suddenly takes interest in Leon, and Leon dumps Melody for Amy, which crushes Melody's heart. After a few dates, Leon realizes that although Amy is beautiful, they have very little in common, and he does not really enjoy spending time with her. Melody is obviously furious with him, but in the end, she says that they can still be friends, but that is it.
Personal Reaction/ Why Teens would want to read this novel:
This was book was just ok. If I were to give it a ranking out of 10, it would probably be a 5. I did enjoy reading a book that has a male protagonist, and I am sure that male high school students would enjoy reading a book from a similar perspective as their own. I did like that Leon, the main character, overcame the stereotypes of teenage boys, and actually did want to go back to the girl with the good personality, instead of the girl with the good looks. Teens would want to read this book because they can relate to it. Leon is just like any other teenage boy who is trying to find himself and form relationships with others.