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Blog Tour | Lies Like Wildfire - Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

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.

Lies Like Wildfire had me gripped from page one. 

An opening where the protagonist is searching for a body? Tick. 

A friendship group facing their ultimate test? Tick. 

The threat of the police uncovering the truth on every page? Tick. 

It has everything you want from a gripping page-turner and is so fast-paced that I genuinely couldn't put it down. Meaning I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours - something which nowadays I very rarely do. 

Lies Like Wildfire follows Hannah, Mo, Drummond, Luke and Violet as they embark on their final summer of adventures before leaving their home of Gap Mountain for separate colleges. It's hot in California, the teenagers spend their days relaxing by the Gap (a body of water prefect for swimming and sunbathing), dreaming of college life and tighter in their friendship than ever before, until one argument starts a spark. A spark from a lighter. A spark from a lighter that then ignites the dry grass around them. That spreads to the land surrounding them. That begins the largest wildfire that Gap Mountain has seen in decades. 

Starting a wildfire in California is a crime - even accidentally - and the group instantly panic, attempting to conceal their tracks whilst raising the alarm with the authorities. Luke already has a criminal record: he can't go to jail for this. Hannah is the sheriff's daughter: she knows the consequences of a wildfire too well. The rest of the group equally have reputations at stake and so they make a pact to lie, to hide the truth whatever it may take. 

The wildfire spreads rapidly - burning through neighbouring towns and igniting Yosemite National Park before it is finally quelled. Yet their lies can't stop. Phones are destroyed, stories created as alibis, but the investigators continue to circle closer, seeking out the truth as the group's friendship faces the ultimate test.

Alvarez creates a pacey sense of peril throughout the story and the description of the fire burning through the landscape is horrific as the consequences of the teen's actions becomes clear. It's something that as a British individual I've seen so many times on the world news, but experiencing it in print really escalated the fear for me as you saw the damage unfold from page to page. 

As a reader, you watch the fire unfold as the friendship unfurls. Lies that started as a group pact  become lies within the group, truths are hidden and memories lost. The fear the teens have that their lives will be lost if they confess is prominent throughout, but ultimately spirals them closer and closer to the encircling law authorities. 

Just as it seems the teens are settling into their new way of life, ready to conceal the truth forever, Alvarez introduces another plot twist and an ending which left me gawping at my kindle and desperate to follow the group further to see whether the truth would ever catch up. 

Lies Like Wildfire is a brilliant story of friendship, flames and fear. I spent equal amounts of time afraid, in awe of the lies being told and desperate for justice to be served and these conflicting emotions make for a tumultuous read that you can't put down. 


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