The 'monsters' are having their last summer before college and they want to have as much fun as possible before they say their goodbyes. The fun they anticipated was skinny dipping in the lake, not accidentally setting off a forest fire that leaves death and destruction in its path. Now the truth would destroy their futures, but is also tearing them apart.
Big thanks to The Write Reads for reaching out and asking me if I'd be interested in this tour. The Ultimate Blog Tour for Lies Like Wildfire began 20th August and is running until tomorrow (15th September)!
To make things very clear, main characters are not always written to be liked. The intention of making a character dislikable can create a magnitude of narrative lines that wouldn't be possible if they were nice, their moral compass needs to be slightly skewed to create the plot development. In this instance, Hannah, was constantly teetering on the edge of likeable and difficult. Her attitude toward law enforcement was admirable, but her choices didn't always make sense in line with her intended career path. She was definitely portrayed as the protector of the group but at the same time couldn't stand up for herself, her obsession with Drummer but reluctance to pursue him was just another contradiction to add to the list that made her continuously confusing.
Whilst Hannah's depiction was sometimes off-putting it was counterbalanced by the compelling mystery that encircled Gap Mountain. Not only were the locals hunting for blood when it came to the forest fire but when Violet, one of the 'monsters' goes missing the plot thickened and tension filled every page. Alvarez is skilled in creating an atmosphere that covers an entire town, with every new and changing setting the overall tone is never lost, there is always an underlying sense of dread and loss in the narrative. I didn't quite realise how tense I'd become reading this until I turned the last page, my shoulders finally dropped from my ears. Tension is always touch and go in novels, you can either do it, or you can't and Alvarez has definitely got it.
Plot twists are something that surprise you or blow you out the water, if it doesn't as a minimum make you say "oh wow" can it be considered a twist? The big reveal didn't blow me away but what I noticed most about it was that it seemed more of a delay tactic than a strong plot point. Without revealing too much, there was a deliberate delay of information for no obvious reason other than it suited the need for a longer book.
As a quick YA thriller this is perfect but if you're looking for deeper connection to a story maybe don't look too closely.