Length: 384 Pages
Publishing: 7th September 2021
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.
Lies Like Wildfire is a brilliant read.
The plot catches you and takes you running and tumbling with each twist and turn, just when you think things are as bad as they could get something else springs out at you. The interplay between the characters is excellent, they are all deep and layered with their backgrounds and positions in life. Whilst entangled with one another they are also vastly individual, making their thoughts, decisions, and actions disparate from one another, causing friction and alliances within the group to change.
In all honesty, the characters aren’t exactly likeable, but that I feel is almost entirely due to the predicaments they find themselves in and so is completely understandable. I don’t think you need to like the characters particularly to enjoy this book, it is the events, lies, secrets, and tragedy that draws you in and compels you to read on. I did find the main protagonist, Hannah, to be very interesting to read, she is incredibly intelligent and quickly becomes the leader making decisions and guiding the others in what to do and say as her father is the Sheriff. She can second guess people’s intentions and use it to her advantage.
My only drawback (and it is only a slight one), is that it did feel quite long at times, I felt like I was reading and reading and not getting anywhere while desperate to understand/uncover the next reveal.
The ending is satisfactory, although a little ambiguous, it needs to be for how everything plays out within the story. I would love to see a follow-up a few years down the line when Hannah is working for the FBI, would her secrets/friends catch up with her?! How would her experiences affect her professionally? I reckon she’d make a badass FBI agent!
Thank you to Penguin Random House Children’s UK for the e-arc, and to TheWriteReads for inviting me to take part in the tour.
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!