Blaze by Hope Bolinger is an allegory for the book of Daniel. I really enjoyed reading this book, but it is a young adult book and will not be making an appearance in our preteen book box. However, it is a great story. Hope Bolinger does an excellent job of creating a modern day "Babylon" in a high school setting. This involves teachers and coaches that play favorites and pick on new students, students who break rules without even noticing, and physical hazing of new students. The campus is also closed to parents for the most part and wifi is spotty at best. This all helps build the story of Danny and his three friends, Hannah, Michelle, and Rayah. The friends are girls, but my kids picked up on the fact that these three friends kept their "Hebrew" names in this allegory.
I really got into this book. The characters were fun. All have their own flaws, but stay true to who they are and the faith that sets them apart. Here are the details on what might cause questions to arise or require further discussion (IMO): alcohol in the dorms, hanging a sock on the doorknob, threats and bullying, and adults that are abusive. Hear me: I LOVED this book as the story really played out. I think Ms. Bolinger had a hard task in front of her as she reconstructed Babylon in a modern high school setting. The leadership needs to be untrustworthy. Daniel and his friends need to be stuck and miserable. Culture needs to be extreme as the stage is set for these four young people to stand up for what they believe. It is a young adult book with great content that helps us ask hard questions as we face what God tells us versus what the culture around us is telling us. Literature continues to provide our children a place to encounter the evils in this world, ask questions, and gives us as parents the opportunity for conversation. This is the first book in a trilogy, and only gets as far as the fiery furnace. I'm curious how the lion's den will play out at King's Academy.