Cover Image: Jack's on Fire

Jack's on Fire

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Member Reviews

This book was really a celebration of queer joy which is a breath of fresh air when so much queer fiction is full of the negative fallout that often comes with queerness. While that may often be young people’s experience, and certainly has a place in the world, it is nice to have a lighthearted celebratory piece of work available as well.

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Filled with music, friendship, and chosen family, there is a lot to love in this YA romp.

The writing is a little clunky. It takes more than half the book for the plot to get interesting. And major characters were often underwritten.

But I still enjoyed this young-adult romance about starting over.

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The thing about this book that stood out to me immediately that I loved was that the narrator did not assign gendered pronouns to any character until after they were formally introduced. I loved that the main characters were not white, though there were times I forgot only to remember for one of two reasons: the main character made sparing reference to his heritage, or because there was some racist language.

I loved the will-they-won’t-they get together drama that occupied the first half of the book, which was made stressful by the fact that we only know Jack’s perspective. His anxiety was wonderfully done, and I enjoyed all of the characters-though they fell to the wayside after Jack starts dating (which I didn’t love, but that is how some people are). There was some great dialogue, but some less than great dialogue (more fatphobic language than I expected considering how progressive so many other parts of the story were).

I was puzzled by how the story would end since Jack got what he wanted by the halfway point of the book (and maybe I’ve been reading too many romances where getting with your person is endgame), but I liked that he was able to get validation and closure re: his mother’s behavior, and, you know, get his big break.

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I received a advanced copy of this ebook from the publisher for a honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. This book has great LGBTQIAP+ representations. The writing style will keep you reading to find out what will Jack do. Jack is the most lovable character. I would definitely definitely recommend reading this book to anyone and everyone. This book is in stores for $10.99 (USD).

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Absolutely loved, loved, loved this book! I am absolutely here to see queer characters flourish and be their best selves and this was exactly what I got with Jack's on Fire :)

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A cute coming-of-age love story that won me over. I highly recommend it.. The evil mother was a B!tch

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Jack Martin is a 16-year-old gay musician who is outed by his ex-boyfriend. He is forced to choose between staying home with his uncaring mother or moving to San Francisco with his older brother. Jack decides to leave Minneapolis and start a new life in San Francisco, where he meets Damon, his geometry tutor and captain of the JV soccer team. Jack wonders if Damon feels the same way about him, and if their friendship has the potential to become something more.

This book was a cute and enjoyable read, written as a modern fairy tale. However, I couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable with the lesson it seemed to be teaching. The idea that all Jack needed to do to feel accepted and be able to be himself was to move to a new city felt a bit dangerous to me as a reader, even though it was presented in the form of a fairy tale. While I understand that sometimes moving to a new place can be freeing and allow for more self-discovery, I worry about the message it sends to queer teenagers who may not have the option or resources to make such a big move.

That being said, the romance between Jack and Damon was sweet, and I enjoyed reading about Jack's journey to finding himself and his place in the world. The characters were likable and the writing was decent if a bit cliched. Overall, I would give this book 3 stars, but would caution against taking the lesson of moving to a new city to find acceptance too literally.

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Jack's on Fire is a happy LGBTQ young adult romance perfect for young (or young at heart) readers looking for a heavy dose of queer joy. It was so refreshing to read a queer story that focuses on love, healing, and found family. Top marks for an inclusive cast of characters and their heartfelt, nuanced discussions of heavy topics like racism and homophobia. I can't wait to read this again!

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Thank you to Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I applied for this ARC on Netgalley solely because Heartstopper had just come out on Netflix and I saw the words "perfect for fans of Heartstopper" in the synopsis. And you know what? It didn't lie!

I love YA books because of the feelings they give me. I may be a 30 year old woman but I was once sixteen and I don't know anyone who has forgotten what it was like to be in high school. Reading books like Jack's on Fire brings it all back and I can disassociate and find myself being in the book with the characters. When a book can transport me to an entirely different world, like this one did, I consider it a success.

I do think this book could have been shorter, but it definitely lives up to the "modern queer fairy tale" the title tells us it is. Despite the length, I didn't have any real problems with this one and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Just be sure to check your triggers, though. This book does deal with some heavy topics and may not be for everyone, no matter your age.

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This was a cute YA story. Two queer, POC characters fall in love as if they are living in a fairy tale. Jack's life is anything but, that is until he moves cross country to live with his older brother, Isaac, and meets school idol, Damon. Damon is sweet and kind, not to mention super hot and Jack develops an instant crush on him. But with everyone around him saying Damon is definitely straight, Jack accepts the fact that his crush will remain one-sided. Despite this, Jack and Damon keep finding ways to spend time together, and slowly Jack starts to question what everyone was so sure to be a fact: is Damon, in fact, straight?
Jack's on Fire was a cute, queer romance with lots of LGBTQ+ rep, fluffy romances, but also touched on some more series topics (TWs: homophobia, bullying, neglect/abuse, cancer, grief/loss). My only complaint was that the story was, at times, somewhat unrealistic, but it was always a delight to read.
Lastly, this story definitely reads very YA, so if that's a genre you're not very into, you may want to skip this book.

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This was an absolute delight to read! It was so nice to read a Queer story that was filled with so much joy and hope, but that didn’t shy away from the realities of being a Queer teen. This, I think this threw me a little at first, everything was always going so well that I was waiting for something to go seriously wrong for Jack but it didn’t happen, not like I expected anyway. I realised a little while in that the hopefulness of the story, and the series of lucky events read just like the fairy tale the novel’s tag line promised. I loved this novel for that.

I loved as well that Jack seemed so disbelieving in his good circumstances after such a rough start to the beginning of this story. It would be so easy for him to take it all for granted, but he questions it before he accepts all the good things happening to him. I think this really does align with a lot of Queer stories (and for people’s stories in general, but in this specific context, Queer stories especially) where the person has it rough for so long that when things start heading in a positive direction it seems almost impossible. This made Jack’s character, so much more genuine for me.

I did find that some of the dialogue felt a little off, especially the regular use of “bro” used between Jack and his brother, and “babe” used between Jack and his love interest. Those dialogue choices almost brought me out of the story as I read. if I also found there was a lot of narrative that slowed down for the story for me.

The relationship between Jack and Damon was really sweet. I especially loved Jack’s awkward, and almost fumbling internal dialogue, especially when he was around Damon or thinking about him. It felt so natural for his character and the story.

As I said before this was a really lovely romance to read. Pick this one up if you are looking for a heartwarming read with engaging characters and great plot.

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I'm currently suffering from the worst reading slump I've ever been in, so I'm not enjoying any books at the moment. Therefore I can't give any books a proper review yet!
I got through half of this book before the slump happened, and I really enjoyed it, I just couldn't finish it since I didn't was to ruin the reading experience due to the slump.
I know I'll really enjoy this story, since I loved the first part of it, and as soon as I get back into reading I'll post a honest review on Goodreads and edit this one!

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Jack's on Fire is filled to the brim with heartwarming queer goodness and joy. It's precisely the story my lonely, suffering, teen self needed to read. It touched me even now as an adult. The story of Jack Martin, bullied both at home and school, Jack's on Fire does away with the all-too-popular teen suffering trope, instead focusing on how someone might be healed from their trauma. There were so many characters to love, from sassy Jack and heartthrob Damon to caring Isaac and tell-it-like-it-is Red. The slow-burn, will-they-or-won't-they romance had me sweating every time I put the book down. Lach infused his fairy tale with strong, queer sensibility and filled it with cuteness almost to the point of overload. The angst and drama of Jack's on Fire are primarily internal but compelling, owing to Lach's thoughtful description of Jack as he deals with his trauma-induced anxiety. I loved this Jack's on Fire. Lach hit the ball out of the park with this one (Yes, Jack. That's a sports metaphor)

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Jack wants to live a fairy tale romance. But, it seems unlikely in his hometown of Minneapolis, with his ultra religious mother who can't accept her queer child. In swoops his fairy godmother, none other than his very own older brother, who offers to whisk him away to life in San Francisco. Far away from his best friend, his uncaring mother, and the bullies who physically beat him up.

The romance in the book is sweet and innocent. It was my favorite part of the book. Jack and Damon are a sweet couple, right along the lines of Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper. The trope of the jock and nerdy musician is once I love in YA literature. I really enjoyed getting to know that characters and seeing them develop.

The part I struggled with was the story telling. Lach is overly descriptive. He writes about absolutely every move the characters make in a scene. It causes the book to drag out. There were several parts I lost focus and even said, "let's get on with it already."

Overall, it was a cute book, though it could have definitely been cut down. My rating would be a 3.5 but I rounded up for a good queer romance.

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This book is exactly what the cover and synopsis suggest: a delightful queer fairy tale focused on found family and the healing power of acceptance. Jack was such a great protagonist, and I appreciated the realistic portrayal of anxiety his character represented. He experienced so much growth, both in managing his anxiety and learning to trust and be open with others. I felt so much joy watching him realize that people could not only accept him but also love him for who he was.

His relationships with others, especially his brother and Damon, were the highlights of the story for me. He had a fun, easygoing relationship with his brother despite the circumstances of the two of them being thrown together, and I just loved the honesty and mutual support they shared. The friendship, and eventual romance, between Jack and Damon was sickeningly sweet and an absolute delight to read. The slow burn friends to lovers romance created a will-they-or-won't-they tension that was fun, even though it was fairly obvious they'd end up together. This was a fairy tale after all.

On that note, this was largely a low angst story about the queer kid getting everything he had ever wanted after being moved from a hostile environment to a supportive one. There were moments of despair, but the general vibe of the book was very positive and devoted to giving Jack the perfect healing experience. That being said, sometimes I wished things wouldn't have gone quite so easily for him. What can I say? I love drama. lol. However, I did enjoy the book for the positive vibes, and seeing Jack live the dream so many queer kids have of unconditional love and acceptance was a cathartic experience.

Now I'm going to be a bit picky. There was one character who seemed to exist only to create the conditions needed for the final climax. Their arc felt removed from the rest of the narrative, and I found the eventual outcome obvious despite also feeling a bit blindsided by it because it seemed like it should have been part of another story. Despite this pickiness about a relatively small detail, I loved this book and think it would be perfect for fans of Heartstopper because of its focus on queer joy and an absolutely adorable friends to lovers high school romance. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

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“Jack’s On Fire” was a cute, queer coming-of-age love story.

Jack is outed by his closeted and vicious ex-boyfriend that leads to an onslaught of bullying. After a recent fight, Jack’s mom has had enough and wants to send her son to a religious-type conversion therapy school. Luckily, Jack’s older brother, Isaac, intervenes and offers Jack a new life in San Francisco with him. This means leaving everything Jack’s known his whole life, including his best friend Paige.

Life seems to change instantaneously as soon Jack reaches the Bay Area. Not only has his brother gone above and beyond to make sure he’s comfortable, Jack makes eyes at the pizza delivery guy at dinner on his first night out and instantaneously becomes smitten. The universe works in magical ways as Damon, the pizza boy, is Jack’s geometry tutor and has been tasked to help Jack catch up before the end of the school year.

While I liked Jack and Damon’s story, I loved Isaac. Isaac shows up for Jack in so many ways and completely changes the trajectory of his life. Once Jack has a strong anchor to support him, he’s able to thrive. He meets new fellow musicians that give him confidence to pursue his passions, and he becomes stronger in articulating his wants and needs to the people he loves. It was also great having Jack and Damon take their relationship and intimacy at their own pace and on their own terms.

If you’re a fan of “Heartstopper,” I think you’ll enjoy this book, especially if you’re into happy queer romances that just progressively get sweeter as the story moves on.

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This is a story about second chances.  When Jack is outed by his ex-boyfriend, he is bullied by others in his Minneapolis high school and he fights back.  Instead of supporting him, his mother, not comfortable with having a gay son, suggests Jack is at fault and makes clear that things are not going to get any easier if he stays at home.  Jack's older brother Isaac, living and working in San Francisco, steps in and offers to let Jack live with him.  So Jack leaves his life behind and moves across the country.  He soon finds himself with a new school where he can pursue his interest in music and live openly.  Jack is making friends, making music, and making a new life with his brother.  

In need of a math tutor, Jack is paired with Damon, the incredibly popular, and incredibly attractive, captain of the soccer team.  Each time they are together, Jack feels sparks.  Damon, surprisingly, seems to want to be Jack's friend ... but Jack is getting mixed signals about whether Damon may want something more.  As Jack settles into his new life and spends more time with Damon, he is surprised to learn that a happily ever after may be within his reach -- but that real-life does not come without its bumps.

I really liked this book!  A fresh, queer take on a Cinderella story, I so enjoyed going on Jack's journey with him.  The author perfectly captures the exquisite tension of queer first-love and the heartbreaks and joys of finding a chosen family.  I also really appreciated the depiction of the relationship between Jack and Isaac, as they learn about each other and build a relationship in a whole new context.  This is a delightful and touching story.

Highly recommended!

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Jack’s on Fire is an adorable love story full of well-drawn characters, triumphant moments, and a touching romance. Buoyed by a supportive brother and a great new circle of friends, the MC Jack is able to look past his perceived shortcomings and overcome the trauma of being raised in a harmful environment. This is a solidly queer story with excellent representation (queer, bi, enby, POC). Despite its heartwarming nature, Lach still includes sensitive discussions of heavy topics (homophobia, bullying, bad parenting, racism, misogyny, teen sexuality). But this isn’t your typical YA trauma fest. The thing about an adorable love story is that you don’t really mind the lack of plot. The romance is the plot, and Jack and Damon’s slow-burn romance absolutely sizzles.

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I finally understand what people are asking for when they say they want more 'queer joy' because this book is the perfect example of that. Sure, Jack has to go through some awful things before his fairy tale story can begin, but there is so much joy and happiness in the story that those moments of darkness can't keep Jack down.
Poor Jack lives his life in fear of beatings by the homophobic people of his school in Minneapolis and his home life is no better with a mother that rejects him and continually puts him down. When he finally fights back and finds himself in danger of being shipped off to a "camp for exceptionally happy boys," his older brother comes to his rescue and moves Jack to live with him in San Francisco. The life Jack makes for himself in San Francisco is not easy, but it gives him the chance to open himself up to new friendships and relationships that show him life can be pretty cool if you put yourself out there and take chances surrounded by those who truly love you.
I don't know how realistic it is because I have nothing in common with Jack besides being Mexican, but I can honestly say that I don't care because this story is a joyful tale of happiness that lives up to the fairy tale promised in the title.

Very happy thanks to NetGalley and Jetspace Studio for the joyful read!

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After being bullied in school, Jack escapes small-minded Minneapolis and moves in with his big brother in California (Isaac is the best brother ever). There he is thrust into a new environment where he and his skills are valued and he can finally thrive. He meets a lot of new people and makes new friends. He also meets and immediately falls for Damon, his Math tutor. But is Damon interested in him? Is Damon even into boys?
Read this sweet queer YA romance to find out. It offers a number of lovely characters, a very real and relatable main character and a charming love interest. Jack works incredibly well as a protagonist and his inner conflicts and workings are shown effectively throughout the novel. He is a lot in his own head, often has imposter syndrome and makes himself smaller, after not being valued for way too long. His story is just so heartwarming and seeing him thrive at his new school is just very satisfying. The overall plot works well, the writing is enjoyable, and, as already mentioned, the characters are interesting and make for a great story. Make sure to check the content warnings though, as the book also deals with more serious issues.
There are two things I personally did not enjoy as much: the slow pace of the story and the constant "babe". That's just something I personally don't vibe with. But those are just minor annoyances, because overall I really did enjoy this book and I rated it 4.25 stars.

Thank you very much to NetGalley, Sunset and Jetspace Studio, and Owen Lach for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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