Follow The Artsy Reader on

#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour #BookReview: Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

My dear bookish friends!

If you’ve seen yesterday’s spotlight on the blog (you can check it out here) you’re probably all desperately waiting to hear what I thought about Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, right? Please say yes! 🙂 Well, all the waiting has come to an end now!!

Big thanks to Dave at TheWriteReads, the author, and Penguin for my ecopy of the book and my spot on the tour! I’ve been loving teen thrillers lately and this one was no different! Keep on reading to find out more!

The Blurb

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.

My Review

18 year-old Hannah and her best friends are celebrating the last weeks before they all head off to different colleges. The ‘Monsters’, as they call themselves since they were little, are Hannah, her secret crush Drummer, Mo, Luke, and Violet. Obviously, the summer after high school and before college is a special one, and so the gang has a huge list of plans for their final summer together. But then, everything changes when Luke and Drummer want to smoke. Everyone knows that California is prone to wildfires in the dry summer heat, but no one wants to listen to Hannah, the town sheriff’s daughter. In a scramble for the matches, Hannah’s worst nightmare comes true – the dry grass catches fire. And the Monsters’ happy, carefree summer is suddenly turning into something completely different…

Wow! What a premise! What a wild ride! The topic of this book couldn’t be more up-to-date, and it was truly scary reading about how the flames are raging and consuming everything along their way. No trees, no animals, no buildings, and no people are safe from the fire. In a matter of seconds, the friends are making a decision: no one tells anybody what happened this fateful summer night. So, nobody will ever know they were involved, right? Right???

From the start, the book hooked me. Alvarez is a very skilled writer – every sentence smoothed to the point. In a matter of lines, I was riding along with Hannah and Drummer towards the lake they like to spend their lazy summer nights at, was smelling the smoke from the fire and felt the friends’ fear. Chapter after chapter, secrets are uncovered, mysteries unleashed, but not all enigmas solved. As dark secrets come to light, the Monsters’ bonds are losing their tight hold. Hannah is in love with Drummer, who is sleeping with Violet – even though it’s one of their firm rules never to date each other. What else don’t they know about each other? The tension rises, and then, one of them goes missing. The one who threatened to tell the police everything. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. Hannah finds herself in the hospital, not remembering anything. What happened to her? What happened to her best friend? Who is behind all this?

As good as the tension, the writing, and the story arch in Lies Like Wildfire is, the characters are … well, quite unlikeable, to be honest. Since the author has written this story so expertly I’m gonna go ahead and assume she did this on purpose. Were we not supposed to root for anybody but look out for the clues? I’m not sure! Can’t really put my finger on the why, but the fact that I didn’t really grow to care for any of the characters made me like it less than I could have, but I still wanted to know what happens next.

Especially Hannah is an intriguing character. Albeit quite selfish and annoying at times, she is very much set out for the road she wants to take in her dream career of studying criminology. With her father being the town’s sheriff, Hannah herself is quite good at reading people. It wasn’t seldom that she could use people’s replies, their actions and reactions and make use of them to her own advantage. Very sneaky! Very interesting, too.

The plot is incredibly addictive, and all the secrets and lies are screaming to be uncovered. The more the shiny, perfect facade of the Monsters’ friendship cracks, the more of their toxic relationships and betrayals comes to light, the harder it gets to stop reading. Only solution to this problem? KEEP ON READING!

If you are a fan of teen mysteries like Karen M. McManus’s books and don’t need to love every single character to enjoy a good story, then Lies Like Wildfire is the book for you! You can expect thrilling mysteries, sad tragedies, an excellently woven plot, and many dark secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

4 stars from me for this story that was raging like a wildfire!

Thank you all so much for reading!



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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow The Artsy Reader on