lies like wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

 lies like wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Delacorte, 2021. 9780593309636 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Mystery

What did you like about the book? Hannah, Drummer, Mo, Luke and Violet have been friends since they were 7 years old.  All but Violet live in Gap Mountain, a small town near Yosemite in California.  Super wealthy, beautiful and smart Violet joins them every summer.  All have just finished high school.  The girls will be going to college while Luke and Drummer work.  They are trying to squeeze all the togetherness they can from their remaining days of summer.  At the beach they accidentally start a fire that grows to enormous proportions in a very short time, destroying forests, homes, businesses and some people.  Hannah’s father is the town sheriff.  She knows the consequences of starting a forest fire so all agree to keep quiet about having started it.  This gets harder and harder as the FBI becomes involved and evidence is found with Luke’s fingerprints.  The “monsters” had a pact that they would never let another down and would never date a member of the group.  Drummer and Violet break the second rule which hurts and infuriates Hannah who has had a toxic infatuation with Drummer her whole life.  There seems to be nothing that Hannah would not do to protect the cowardly Drummer.  After Violet decides she absolutely must tell the truth about what happened, she goes missing….

Violet may be Latinx while the other four present as white.  (The book also has a great cover!)

Anything you did not like about the book?  This is a thriller.  It moves very fast. The dilemmas each character faces are very real and even complex.  My involvement in the story did not prepare me for the ending.  Saying I did not like it would not be fair to the author and the characters she created, but I did have a hard time with it, hoping for a different result.

To whom would you recommend this book? This story has it all; it is fast-moving like the forest fire, which is its own character.  The characters are realistic and easy to identify with.  It also would be great for high school discussions as there is so much to explore and examine.

Who should buy this book? Pubic and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: December 1, 2021

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