I had a good reading weekend with this book.
Lies Like Wildfire
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.
In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.
But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.
This is a very intense and emotional book, it’s the kind of story that easily sinks its hooks in you and makes it so that you do not want to put it down. From the start, there is this high paced, edge of your seat feeling that really doesn’t stop until the book ends and the tension that builds throughout the story is incredible, I think within the first couple of chapters I was close to tears and then, for the rest of the story, felt pulled on an emotional rollercoaster as the events unfolded. I loved that I could really feel the sadness and unease throughout this book because it meant that I was wholly invested in what was happening.
I thought it was really clever to play with the perception of good and bad with this storyline, the “monsters” aren’t inherently bad people they just made a silly mistake but then as things start to fall further out of control you get to see how the line between what people believe to be good and bad is often such a blurry one. It made the tension in the story palpable as you just wait to see how a character will react as the situation gets worse and worse, it is also brilliant in really exploring the group dynamic how we are made to feel like one character can be in the wrong when really they are closer to being in the right and the struggle of trying to keep the group together when the secrets and lies don’t pinpoint everyone.
The story is told from Hannah’s point of view and she is definitely a very mixed character in the sense that I started off the story with my impression of her and then as she feels bound to do what she believes is the right thing for all her friends you see a different side emerge. The same can be said with the rest of the monsters as well they all go through a lot of change as the story progresses and the high stakes of what is happening shows them for who they really are, which is an interesting contrast from what Hannah’s viewpoint might lead you to believe.
There are definitely a lot of unexpected things that happen in this story and I was constantly surprised at what was going to happen next. I think I was about halfway through the book and I thought to myself that there was already so much covered I wasn’t sure what else there could be, but then the author threw in more curveballs and kept making it harder and harder for me to put the book down.
Lies Like Wildfire is an intense, emotional and addictive story about secrets and lies and the cost that they can have on yourself and those around you. It is an edge of your seat read that I would highly recommend.
I received my B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. I’m fascinated by underdogs and power dynamics between groups of people.
I’m the author of LIES LIKE WILDFIRE, a teen thriller soon-to-be published by Delacorte Press, and two middle grade book series, each published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, THE GUARDIAN HERD (a quartet) and RIDERS OF THE REALM (a trilogy). Before this, I self-published a middle grade fantasy called THE PET WASHER.
When I’m not writing, you’ll find me galloping my little black mare through the foothills of Sonoma County or teaching free creative writing workshops to kids and adults at various branches of our local library system.
The Healdsburg Literary Guild selected me as their 2019/2020 Literary Laureate for my work in building literacy in my community. It is an honor I hold dear. I am also the current SCBWI Sonoma County Coordinator and a volunteer on the Sonoma County Library Advisory Board.
I live in Northern California with my husband, three children, and more than my fair share of pets!