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Download How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel Audiobook, by Jesse Ball Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jesse Ball Narrator: Emma Galvin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9780451484147
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A teenage girl. A shattering loss. An obsession with a secret arson club. This is the story of a girl who has nothing and will burn anything.

Lucia’s father is dead, her mother is in a mental hospital, and she’s living in a garage-turned-bedroom with her aunt. And now she’s been kicked out of school—again.

Making her way through the world with only a book, a zippo lighter, a pocketful of stolen licorice, a biting wit, and the striking intel­ligence that she tries to hide, Lucia spends her days riding the bus to visit her mother and following the only rule that makes any sense to her: Don’t do things you aren’t proud of.

But when she discovers that her new school has a secret Arson Club, she’s willing to do anything to be a part of it, and her life is sud­denly lit up. As Lucia’s fascination with the Arson Club grows, her story becomes one of misguided friendship and, ultimately, destruction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Extremely well done: swift, sharp-tongued, and enlivened by cockeyed humor.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “One of the triumphs of the novel is the delicacy with which Ball opens his narrator’s smart-aleck voice just wide enough to admit a sincere measure of wonder and dread.”


  • “The novel’s disaffected, Holden Caulfield-style young narrator and heroine…Lucia is a marvelous creation.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A high-spirited, edgy coming-of-age novel…Ball has created a voice that echoes the beloved narrators of J. D. Salinger and John Green…or a high-IQ, antiheroic Katniss Everdeen, but with a better sense of humor.”


  • “The beautifully blunt narration of a gifted delinquent propels this excellent sixth novel…A song of teenage heartbreak…[and] a mature meditation on how actually saying something, not just speaking, is what most makes a voice human.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

  • “Narrator Emma Galvin’s youthful voice and snarky attitude put Lucia Stanton right in the listener’s face…Galvin makes Lucia’s nihilism credible…Galvin is convincing in Jesse Ball’s very dark, very truthful novel.”


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About the Author

Jesse Ball is the author of several novels, including Silence Once Begun and Samedi the Deafness, and several works of verse, bestiaries, and sketchbooks. He has been named a finalist for the 2015 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and a 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He received an NEA creative writing fellowship for 2014 and the 2008 Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, and his verse has been included in the Best American Poetry series. He gives classes on general practice at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Master of Fine Arts Writing program. A Cure for Suicide was long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award.

About the Narrator

Emma Galvin won the 2011 Audie Award for best fiction narration, was a finalist for the Audie Award in 2012, and won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations. A graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, her film appearances include My Suicidal Sweetheart, A Perfect Fit, and The Big Bad Swim. She has performed in several regional theater productions, including Love Punky, The Power of Birds, and The Realm.