Book Review; Lies Like Wildfire – Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Where there’s smoke there’s a liar!

Page Count 384

Publication date Sept 2021

Publisher Penguin

GoodReads link




A story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames.

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.


Before I dive into the review, a big apology to The Write Reads who sent me a beautiful ARC of Lies Like Wildfire in exchange for my contribution to their blog tour. I read this fantastic book in advance of the tour (along with 10 other ARCS you’ll be seeing me review in the coming weeks) and promptly forgot to post in time!

It’s been a lovely few months of near-normality for me, getting to see people once again, starting a new job, beginning a podcast and enjoying the sunshine. My blogging motivation fell down a well. Not a single post in 2 months! BUT, here I am, back again in time for my favourite spooky season. If you’re reading this and fancy joining @The_WriteReads bookblogging community, head on over to twitter and drop Dave a message!


The opening page to Lies Like Wildfire is a gunshot. A call to attention that immediately grabs any curious reader’s interest.
I settled in for a long session, already I wanted to know the answers.

Only a few pages later I’d forgotten all about my initial questions. The erupting wildfire was truly terrifying, I’m not sure I drew a breath the entire time I was reading it. Knowing that this scenario is playing out all over the world more and more frequently gives so much weight to this story.
Alvarez packed so much emotion into the writing she almost wrenched a few tears from my own cold heart! One of the most powerful chapters I’ve read in a long time.

Lies Like Wildfire is told in first person, present tense from main character Hannah’s point of view. She is very well written and I found myself responding to the characters around her as she would, or feeling defensive of Hannah if one of the ‘monsters’ was negative toward her. A few times I had to remind myself -wait a minute, there are other opinions to consider here- because I was championing Hannah too hard!

So clearly I connected with the main character, I was also already heavily invested in the plot by 25% in.
What’s fantastic about this book is that the story is so engaging, I repeatedly forgot it was all leading to a big reveal. The prologue opens up asking questions about Violet’s whereabouts but I was enjoying the wildfire plot, the friend group dynamics and Hannah’s development so much I’d forgotten where it was all heading.
Rarely have I read a thriller with such well written subplots, they intertwined perfectly and each held my attention without feeling like a side show to the main event- What happened to Violet?

The group of friends self titled ‘the monsters’ are made up of the usual YA stereotypes, pretty, player, intelligent, bad boy etc but I didn’t find this detrimental to the story, if anything it felt reflective of any teenage clic.

After a particularly slow reading year for me I raced through Lies Like Wildfire and can’t fault it in anyway. Full stars from me.

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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