Thank you to The Write Reads for allowing me to be part of this blog tour.
Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Published By: Penguin
Released: 9th September 2021
CAWPILE Rating: 8.2 / 4 ★
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The monsters have known each other their whole lives. This is their final summer before college – time to hang out, fall in love and dream about the future.
Until they accidentally start a forest fire which destroys their hometown and leaves death in its wake.
Desperate for the truth to remain hidden, the group make a pact of silence.
But the twisted secret begins to spin out of control and when one of the friends disappears they all become suspects.
We know how it starts but where does it end?
Secrets and lies are everywhere in this compulsive page-turner, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying
It’s the final summer before college for the monsters, Hannah, Mo, Drummer, Luke and Violet – a group of friends who have known each other their whole lives. It’s a time to relax, fall in love and prepare for their futures. That is until they accidentally start a forest fire, which ends up destroying their hometown and leaving several people dead. Eager to keep the truth hidden, the entire group swears to a pact of silence. However, when the secret starts to veer out of control, resulting in one of them disappearing, they all become suspects.
YA thrillers are becoming my go-to reads at the moment, and Lies Like Wildfire is no exception! This book had me pulled in from the get-go, so much so that I read it in one afternoon. This is the kind of book that you will not want to put down, and you will feel compelled to carrying on reading no matter what you have going on. Everything about it will have you gripped, and you could say this book is the literal definition of a page-turner.
My first thoughts when reading Lies Like Wildfire were WOW! and how incredible is this writing style? Alvarez writes with such an intensity that keeps you hooked and longing to keep going on this journey. Everything about the way this story is told will draw you in and if you weren’t into YA thrillers before, you certainly will be now. Lies Like Wildfire has everything you could want from a book of this genre, and I for one am glad to have discovered it.
The story itself is split into two parts, during the wildfire and just after and several months later. This wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and it came as a complete surprise to me, but I welcomed it and soon realised that both parts join together perfectly, and this does end up tying up a few loose ends that you get at the end of the first part. I personally found myself more drawn to the second part, as this is where a huge chunk of the mystery happens, but as a whole, the whole story gels together nicely. Also, the wildfire element, to me was fascinating! As I’m from a country that doesn’t get many wildfires, I found the whole concept gripping. It does make you think about how one little thing can grow and leave devastation in its wake. The way this topic was written was both mortifying and insightful, and you do get a sense of how it is for people who experience this type of thing regularly. The environmental message that it also brings is strong and shows us how we need to look after our natural environments, otherwise, destruction will happen imminently.
The monsters are, quite frankly some of the most unlikeable characters I’ve read about in a while, but that is one of the reasons why I found each of them so compelling. They were each written in such a way, that made you dislike them and this can be a hard thing to do so I commend Alvarez for this. I also think that despite the group being so incompatible, they seemed to look past that and try to work together. Hannah, as the narrator helped us get deep inside the group and how they tried to come up with a plan to hide their secret. Speaking of Hannah, I found her narrative voice to be honest and fearful. You could tell how much she just wanted things to go back to normal for her and the rest of the monsters, but also knowing that things would never be the same again. Her journey took us on an emotional journey, and we saw her make many mistakes during this. I do wonder though, how the story may have gone if we had seen the story through the eyes of each of the monsters. Would that perspective have changed the story and overall plot and character arcs in any way? It’s something that I did ponder over once I’d finished the book.
Lies Like Wildfire was an intense, riveting read that had me utterly absorbed. It takes its place as one of my favourite YA thrillers of the year, and I can honestly say it will have you completely obsessed with wanting to find out the mysteries surrounding the Monsters. Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is an author I will be looking out for in the future, that is for certain.
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!