Have you ever read a book you want to love but just can't? Blaze of Glory is one of those books for me.
Tea is seventeen and on her way to a promising career in horse jumping (not sure that's the right term). Her life revolves around her family, friends, and horses until one day she gets into an accident and her career is put on hold as she struggles to find her way back. While she's struggling, her hot, 23-year old, polo playing cousin Jaden steps in to play her protector from the bad choices she makes in her life. And through their experiences together, they develop a very strong bond, platonic at first and then more than platonic in Tea's mind. The first half of the book is centered around Tea's love for horses and the second is centered around Tea's love for Jaden.
This review is hard to write because I really liked the story and I loved the characters, but throughout the book I was pretending and creating a plot of my own to get over some fundamental flaws I had with the book, which is why I think I enjoyed it so much. But there are a few things that I just can't get over personally, which also means I can't recommend this book to anyone.
First, this book is written for a young adult audience. The main character is a 17-year old girl, meaning the ideal audience for this would probably be teenage girls. The last quarter of the book is about Tea and her sexual relationship with a 23-year old man. The author, through Tea, treated sex like it wasn't a big deal and was just something that other people were doing so she should too. I completely disagree with this and wouldn't want my teenage daughter to read it. If this book were written for an adult audience and dealt with an adult relationship, I would be much more lenient on the author. And I know sex is everywhere right now and teens are out there having sex, but it doesn't mean that we need to write or read more books where it's just something that you do.
And second, I had a huge problem with the Tea and Jaden having a relationship when they are actual first cousins. I tried over and over again to convince myself that it didn't matter because they weren't related by blood, but they were related by adoption making them legal 1st cousins. It does matter and completely jaded my opinion of the storyline. I'm not sure why Jaden couldn't have been just like a cousin or just like a brother (someone's best friend, etc.), not an actual relative.
If you can get over those two fundamental flaws, this book may for you. Like I said, when I imagined Tea and Jaden as just a man and a woman (not a teenage girl and her cousin), I loved this story and found it hard to put down. I also loved the characters and the way they were so well-developed. But for me, the two things above ruined the book for me and I really can't recommend it. I will probably read something by M. Garzon in the future because I enjoyed the writing, but only if the storyline is one I can get behind. 2 stars.