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Title: Lies Like Wildfire
Author: Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Published: 7th of September 2021 – Penguin
Format: Digital (NetGalley eARC) – 384 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today I am popping back to my blog to finally post my review of Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez which is currently being featured as an Ultimate Blog Tour by Dave from @The_WriteReads.
Dave’s blog tours introduced me in a way to YA mysteries/thrillers and I have totally fallen in love with the genre, so I was really glad I got to participate on this tour.
Thank you so much to Dave for letting me be a part of this tour, and thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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.
Trigger warnings: fire, death, mention of drunk driving, murder, lies, secrets, injury, blood, bear attack, animal death.
Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is a great YA mystery/thriller that I got the chance to read for the Ultimate Blog Tour organised by Dave, and I’m so glad I signed up. YA mystery is one genre that I can speed through and just keep turning the pages, and this was one such book, I just kept wanting to know what was happening, if the fire would go out if they would find Violet, and what secrets the liars were keeping from the families and the town, but also from themselves.
I’m not one for family secrets in books, but I don’t mind secrets between friends, and I definitely found the whole atmosphere around the liars to become tense towards the end of the novel, like everything was unravelling.
I have to talk about the setting for this book as well as the characters! This book is set in a town in the U.S., in California if I’m not mistaken. From the first pages, we get chucked into this setting which is soon to be on fire, and it was a race against the clock to get the fire put out, but also to find out who set the fire, since it’s a federal offence. The characters we meet when starting this book are a real rag-tag group of friends who have mostly come together because they all live in the same town, with the exception of Violet who is the daughter of rich parents who galivant across the world each year, leaving her to her grandmother in this small town. They are all called the “monsters”, by themselves and by their friends and family, but I was just rooting for everything to be okay for them.
I really liked Hannah from the start, how she is fighting to keep her friends together and later, also fighting against her memory to figure out what could have happened to Violet. I thought that she was a really good narrator, although somewhat unreliable at some points, but that just added to the overall atmosphere of lies, secrets, tension, all made greater from the wildfire raging across California. We learn a lot about Hannah’s family and her personal struggles, her wish to become an FBI agent, and I really liked getting to know her.
I also liked the other characters, I had a soft spot for Mo as I am totally that person who brings a million things in their bag for outings, and make sure everyone is fed and watered ahah! I also thought that Luke really drew the short straw and I felt so sorry for him, and would really have liked to know him better. I just wanted them all to get out and go do everything they had planned for their life after high school.
As I mentioned above, I have really gotten into YA mysteries/thrillers that I find so different to their adult counterparts. There is usually a great atmosphere and things are just so much more edge-of-your-seat for me, which was the case here. I just wanted to keep reading this book at every chance I got, as I wanted to find out if the monsters would make it out unscathed and what truths would be revealed.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, Lies Like Wildfire was such a great YA mystery/thriller that had me immersed each time I picked it up for “just one more chapter” that turned into 10. It had a really tense atmosphere that makes you keep turning the pages, and the countdowns of how many days the fire has been raging, the casualties from it, and another event (that I won’t mention) just kept me reading to find out what was going to happen in the end.
I liked the pace which I found strong and flowed really nicely, along with the great writing style. The relationships between the characters and their dialogues were nicely written and it made for very believable characters and a very intriguing plot.
I gave this book 4 stars (full ASPECTS rating below) and I really enjoyed it. It was a really fast-paced, well-written and well-thought-out quick YA mystery/thriller. I also NEVER saw that ending coming and it left me with my mouth hanging open because it takes a bit to surprise me, and that wrap-up definitely did leave me stunned. The author did a great job of pointing the suspicion elsewhere! It was a great reveal!
If you love fast-paced, quick, intriguing, tense stories with rag-tag groups of friends, secrets between them, and other mysteries mixed in, and you don’t mind the trigger warnings I mentioned above, then I highly recommend this book, I’m sure you would love it!
Thank you once again to Dave, the author, the publisher and NetGalley, this was a great reading experience and has left me curious about the other books written by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, especially since they are middle-grade fantasy series, another of my faves!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JENNIFER LYNN ALVAREZ
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!
Atmosphere – 7
Start – 7
Pacing – 7
Ending – 7.5
Characters – 7
Theme – 7
Style – 8
Total = 50.5
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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK – Amazon FR – Amazon US – AbeBooks – The Book Depository – Audible FR – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Audible UK – Blackwell’s – BetterWorldBooks – Wordery