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
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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.
To bring you back into focus, you know, on the story of my life. The opening credits have rolled and you already have a pretty good idea the story is about the poorest, least proud family in a pretty nice-looking neighborhood. I got that much in. That tells a lot, really. Think about it. You know the story isn’t going to be about my neighbors in their perfect little houses. It’s gonna be about that odd house out. That rundown shack in the middle of the beautiful suburban sprawl. Something has happened to the people in that house, something probably bad. They lost their zest for life, right? I mean, the least they can do is remove some of the garbage collecting against their back fence. They have no pride. They no longer give a shit.
Maybe the story is about why they no longer give a shit.
Now that you have the house in your mind, I think the next best place to introduce in the movie would be the halls of Helltown Secondary. It’s actually Shelton Secondary, but all the cool kids call it Helltown. They have for generations. I’m not one of the cool kids, but I’m gonna call it Helltown, too. Mostly because it’s the one place in the world that feels the most like what hell would feel like if it existed.
So, the camera pans on the school. Full frontal. It takes in the flag, the school name on the building’s façade, the whole deal. And then the camera slowly makes its way in through the front doors. Very prestigious. Very upper-class. Marble stairs leading to great oak doors you really have to grab onto to swing open.
Once we’re inside, the camera does one of those speedy-up things where it races through the hallways taking in the occasional hot girl— again full frontal— the odd jock hunk, maybe with football gear slung over his shoulder, or a hot girl dripping off his deltoids. You get the picture. Everybody who is hot is gettin’ some action, and the camera convinces you of this in the few quick-glimpse shots of the school beauties petting and pawing and preening over one another. There. Look. We see a girl putting on lipstick. She’s stretching upwards, with one foot slightly lifted out behind her, while she stares into her locker mirror. The pose just oozes sex. She’s putting some hot, wet-looking lipstick on her teen girl lips, perfect pouty lips that most of the guys will never ever touch.
Okay. Enough of that. I kind of went all self-indulgent there. Okay, so the camera turns a corner and focuses on the back of a head. The head is shoved fully into its owner’s locker. There’s a hand repeatedly pushing the head, and the front of the head is ringing soundly off the back of the locker.
Okay. See that hand? You with me so far? That hand is on the back of my head. I would make my first appearance in the movie of my life by appearing as the back of my head. I’d want to save the audience the agony for just a split second longer. I’d want their sympathy first. That poor boy? What did he ever do to deserve that? In other words, I would milk it. I’d want to slowly introduce them to the lead character, get them ready for what they’re about to see.
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