FICTION

Wildfire

Random. Jan. 2020. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399556296.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up–Annie and Pete share a wealth of childhood memories, membership in the “Dead Mom Club,” and a penchant for dangerous adventure. It was just the two of them for so long that it wasn’t until Pete started dating someone else that Annie realized she loves him. When Annie becomes frozen by grief following the death of her grandmother, Pete convinces her to get out of her rut by hiking with him through the Washington forests they both love. A series of disasters and poor choices results in the two of them lost in the woods, with Pete horribly injured and unable to walk, while wildfires loom ever closer. Annie’s nonlinear narration, constantly shifting between the events of the doomed hike and memories of their life together, effectively reveals the shared history that has made her friendship with Pete so vital to both of them. Her grief over the loss of both her troubled mother and her devoted grandmother, and the pain of her unrequited love for her best friend, are explored with depth and honesty. As a character, Annie is both complex and highly likable: even when overwhelmed by emotion, she constantly thinks about how her actions will impact the people she cares about. For a novel so introspective, the pace is remarkably quick, in large part due to the constant peril Annie and Pete face. As Annie slowly realizes that this crisis is not like all their other near escapes, readers are likely to experience similar feelings of dread and heartbreak. Recommend to fans of John Green, Adam Silvera, or Sarah Dessen.
VERDICT Advise readers to have tissues on hand for this riveting tale of friendship, grief, and survival.

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