Carly Allen thought she was fine after her breakup with her girlfriend Emma, but one day when she sees a pigs in party hats kids book everything comes flooding in. The wall she built to show the world she was doing fine crumbles and she falls into an Oreo and Taylor Swift spiral. With senior year starting her best friend pushes her to go out and enjoy things, which also includes slightly chaperoning a date that leads to a headbutting meet cute. Carly isn’t sure if she should already be crushing, but here she is with a maybe new crush and having to make some tough decisions about what to do after high school. Burn Before Reading is the kind of story that you will feel is made just for you and Carly’s narration will draw you in from the start like a friend sharing their secrets with you.
With her dad style Hawaiian shirts, witty quips, and the ability to connect with people Carly could be blazing through senior year on a high. As she tries to recover from the turbulent romance and devastating breakup with Emma she finds herself crushing on Mollie Fae, a student who transferred three years earlier. After a brief meeting at a party the two start spending more time together, but Carly is scared. Not just of asking Mollie Fae out, but of what would happen when they start dating. She worries she won’t be good enough and that isn’t the only place in her life where her confidence is failing. She’s applied to colleges and the one she really wants to go to, Oberlin in Ohio, is making her question everything about her writing skills. What if she writes something they completely hate? How could she survive that? Carly isn’t alone and advice comes from an unlikely freshman source that just might push her to fight for what she wants.
Burn Before Reading is a read that you won’t want to put down. Carly is a main character that no matter what she is going through is someone you want to keep following down whatever path she takes. When she finds herself struggling to actually be happy you will root for her and the work she is doing to try and fix things that have happened around her. Carly is also exceptionally kind and reaches out to people, even when they’ve hurt her in the past. She also gets a pretty impressive scene involving a fifth year senior that will shock you, but in a very positive way. A moment outside of Carly herself involves Mollie Fae and made me exceptionally happy. When discussing celebrity crushes Mollie Fae says that she is more drawn to personality and doesn’t have a celebrity crush list exactly. I have had to explain this to people so many times. I can’t crush on someone unless I know them and know their personality. Physical elements don’t really drawn me in, but have a good heart, cool interests, a bit of a sense of adventure, and a few other things and I am all in. Carly’s journey isn’t a coming out story, but rather a story of becoming the person you present yourself as and let yourself embrace happiness. You can buy your copy of Burn Before Reading, the first in the Carly Allen Trilogy, today.