cover image My Kind of Crazy

My Kind of Crazy

Robin Reul. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3176-7

In this debut novel, Reul crafts a romantic hero who is valiant, sensitive, self-deprecating, and a little confused about which girl he wants to date. Aspiring comic-book artist Hank Kirby nearly burns down the house of his dream prom date, Amanda, with a sparkler-related proposal gone wrong, and flees the scene. But there's a witness: Peyton, a strange, pyromaniac girl from school who sees a kindred spirit in Hank and suddenly wants to be his friend. Hank's self-deprecating narration is consistently funny ("She pulls away from the window%E2%80%94probably to call the fire department. We should probably talk about prom another time"), bringing a lightness to a story that also delves into loss, grief, parental negligence, and mental health. Beyond Peyton's inability to stay away from matches, she's dealing with a drug-addicted mother; Hank has major tragedy in his past, too, and he finds an unexpected confidante in Peyton, even as he continues to pursue Amanda. The road to romance between Hank and Peyton may be bumpy for them, but readers should find it entirely enjoyable. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Leigh Feldman Literary. (Apr.)