Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Ultimate Blog Tour for Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez! Thank you to Dave @The_WriteReads for including me in this tour and also to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this book!
Title: Lies Like Wildfire
Author: Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
Published: September 9th, 2021 (Penguin)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin, and NetGalley for providing this eARC as part of a blog tour with The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review.
Five best friends have spent every summer together in their hometown of Gap Mountain. This year is different though: with college and work on the horizon, they decide to make the most of this last summer, until plans for a lazy afternoon by the lake go awry and they accidentally start a wildfire in the forest. As the sheriff’s daughter, Hannah Warner knows well the penalties for starting a wildfire in California, and so they do the only thing that comes to mind – lie to the investigators. But the fire grows increasingly deadly, and with each day it rages on, it becomes harder and harder to maintain their lie and their futures are at risk. Will they be able to keep the secret and protect each other or will their friendship crack under the mounting pressure and guilt as they witness the destruction the fire is causing?
This was certainly an intense read, action packed from beginning to end and I really enjoyed it! It alternates between two timelines, one following the events leading up to the fire and the consequences and the other, some months into the future, where one of the friends, Violet, has disappeared without a trace. I loved the narration style and the suspense and mystery was maintained right until the end. The experience of escaping the raging fire and the evacuation of the town was so well written and the author has done an excellent job with the description of these events.
Despite the entire book being narrated from Hannah’s perspective, I thought the author did really well at giving us a good idea about all five of the central characters and their personalities. The characters were, frankly, extremely unlikeable. There are flawed characters, which make a story realistic, but this was one kind of extreme where I couldn’t bring myself to root for even one of them. They seemed to me a very toxic group who don’t treat each other well at all despite claiming to be best friends. Hannah was probably the worst of them to be honest and not nearly as good as she thinks herself to be.
But the best part of this is that you don’t need to like the characters to enjoy this book – the lies, secrets and sheer curiosity to know how each of their stories end was what kept me reading. Each of them have a lot at stake, some more than others and this secret being revealed could ruin their lives, so they are willing to go to any lengths to protect it, no matter who gets in the way – even one of their own.
The ending was a little ambiguous, and while I usually find that kind of conclusion annoying, it sort of worked in this case. I would still love to read a follow up novel, perhaps a few years into the future, to see if all the lies ever catch up with Hannah and if she becomes an FBI agent like she has always dreamed. I would highly recommend this book and fans of mysteries and thrillers like Karen McManus’ works are sure to enjoy this.
About the Author
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!
Find this book on: Amazon
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!