Lies Like Wildfire is the epitome of high-octane, fast-paced action, and was the absolute perfect binge-read. I struggled to put it down throughout, and when I wasn’t reading fervently, I was thinking about the characters and worrying about what would happen next. Needless to say, it’s a book that stays with you after finishing, too.
The group of teenagers the book follows—nicknamed the ‘monsters’—are joined at the hip, and would do anything for each other. When a scuffle between them leads to a lit match being dropped in a highly flammable area, the resulting wildfire sweeps through the local area and devastates their community. Then the burning question (excuse the pun) is raised: will everyone discover it was their fault?
Plot-wise, the investigation into the cause of the fire kept the story moving along at an incredibly fast pace. Amazingly, it wasn’t the only source of drama, though—the friendship group dynamics shifted as events unfolded and suspicions grew, and new problems came to light. The characters in the friendship group were all realistic and all had their own issues to contend with, which made for some fascinating changes in loyalties and motivations, and some cracking side plots that kept throwing me curveballs when I least expected it.
The protagonist, Hannah, was perhaps not the most likeable of characters, but this was of no detriment to the plot. Indeed, her often questionable decisions and fluctuating motivations meant that I, as a reader, was constantly left reeling as events unfolded. The investigation into the fire-starting teens felt high-stakes, because Hannah had so much to lose: not just because she’d be in trouble with the law, but because of how it was affecting her relationships with her father, the sheriff, and with her best friends—namely with Drummer, who she was desperately in love with. As far as narrators go, Hannah may not be the most mature of the characters, but boy, does she make for an unpredictable perspective.
The writing was to-the-point and not overly flowery, which worked perfectly with the pacing; there was a perfect ratio of action to streams of consciousness, so the reader is given time to breathe. Though, to be honest, I’m pretty certain I had heart palpitations every few pages, as I was so worried for the characters—I was kept on the edge of my metaphorical seat the whole way through, and I enjoyed every minute! I will absolutely be picking up Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s next book; if it’s anything as rip-roaring and exciting as Lies Like Wildfire, then I can’t wait to read it!
Lies Like Wildfire is available for purchase from Waterstones and other bookshops from September 9th. I would like to thank @TheWriteReads and @PenguinPlatform for the advance copy, and @TheWriteReads On Tour for including me in their blog tour.