How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy? When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that–he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like an outsider, and he also has a secret: He’s a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he’s in–and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Penguin/Dial 2012



Junior Library Guild, official selection
Texas TAYSHAS masterlist 2014
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers 2014
Missouri Association of School Librarians Gateway Awards masterlist
Oklahoma Library Assoc Sequoya masterlist 2015
VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2012
Bank Street College Best Books 2013
Florida Teen Reads masterlist 2014-2015


“The idea of finding beauty and value where most see ugliness and ruin runs through Griffin’s novels, and he brings that theme into sharp focus in this chilling, of-the-moment mystery… As always, Griffin fills his story with fascinating, distinctive characters whose interior and exterior struggles are closely entwined.” — Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) 

“…A dull moment does not exist in this fast-paced, modern mystery.  This book will be a great addition to any fiction collection for adolescents.”
— Dianna Geers, VOYA (starred review)

” This poignant, romantic mystery, told through Jay’s no-nonsense point of view, is a suspenseful, memorable exploration of love, identity, and beauty.”
 Jenny MacKay, Children’s Author, Sparks, Nevada. Library Media Connection (starred)

Burning Blue is terrific. It challenges the notion of where beauty lies and reminds us what true friendship, loyalty, and love really mean. I gobbled up this page-turning mystery. Paul Griffin has a new fan.” — Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST

“Having done gritty realism in Ten Mile River and doomed romance in Stay With Me, Paul Griffin here takes on another genre, giving readers a taut, disturbing thriller anchored with moments of incredible poignancy and emotional resonance.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Griffin fleshes out a gripping whodunit with a host of believable teen characters.  While readers will probably already have judged—and found wanting—the eventually exposed perpetrator, they will still be astonished by the person’s identity. A taut thriller explores the evolving relationship between two outsider teens, at first defined by their shared defectiveness but later superseding it.” — Kirkus Reviews

Griffin has upped the ante with this engrossing page-turner that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. He retains his penchant for characters who are broken and battered by the vicissitudes of life and who struggle to find meaning and happiness. However, no matter how tragic the situation, he injects a poignant humanity and hopefulness into the most desperate of circumstances.  Another stellar offering from this talented author.” — Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, School Library Journal