Lies Like Wildfire
by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
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Pub Date 9 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 26 May 2022
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 78 members
Hannah, Nathaniel (Drummer) Maureen (Mo) Luke and Violet had been best friends since they were seven years old. They were known in the small town of Gap Mountain in rural California as The Monsters, a nickname that they had been given on the day they became friends after they were the only kids who volunteered to play the wild things in a summer daycare production of Where The Wild Things Are. The group were now in their late teens and spending what could be their last summer together before the girls went off to their respective colleges.
But, one hot day in July, their plans for the future went up in smoke when they accidentally started a forest fire which swiftly turned into a wildfire that destroyed parts of the town and left devastation, destruction and death in its wake.
Terrified of the consequences of their actions, the teens made a pact of silence but some of them are not as strong willed as the others and lies like wildfires have a habit of getting out of control.
When the investigation into the origins of the fire begins to yield results and the law enforcement agency's start questioning the friends, splinters and cracks start to appear in their once tight knit group, loyalties are tested and then, one night, one of the monsters mysteriously disappears...
This thrilling, captivating story is written in two sections and voiced entirely from the perspective of Hannah who was the daughter of the sheriff and planned to study criminal justice at college. Hannah was a complex and very difficult to like individual who appeared to be the unofficial leader of The Monsters (at least that was the way she made it appear throughout her narrative) To be honest, I thought she came across as quite immature at times and her only redeemable qualities were her love for her horses and bloodhound Matilda. Her loyalty to her friends came across as admirable but were her actions for their benefit or for her own preservation? The other members of the group of friends were realistic, relatable individuals, my favourite of which was Mo. I did feel a bit of sympathy for Luke and I loved how much he cared and worried about his younger brother Aiden. I also really liked Violet's grandmother Lulu, I thought she was a fantastic, feisty, fiercely loyal individual.
This is a beautifully described story, from the stunning scenery to the breath taking combination of beauty and devastation that was the wildfire. The description of the fear and terror of the evacuees and animals as the fire raged across the parched land were so realistic that the reader could close their eyes and imagine the scenes in their head and feel the heat from the flames scoring your skin.
This is a extremely well written, debut y/a thriller that rockets along faster than a wildfire that is caught in a gust of wind. It's a gripping, addictive read that had me hooked in from the first page and so captivated that I read the whole book in one sitting. I would love to watch a film or tv adaptation of this incredible book. Worth all the stars and more, very very highly recommended and definitely going to be one of my favourite reads of this year.
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