R.O. Kwon's scintillating debut novel, The Incendiaries (published last year by Riverhead and now available in paperback), examines the ways that faith can be both a balm and a blight. The book's beating heart is the stormy relationship between Will and Phoebe, two college freshmen who seem to seek solace from their sorrows in one another. It's a bad romance that's by turns mangled and magical; Kwon writes dazzlingly about the bewilderment of desire.

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