Natalia is not the kind of girl who takes risks. Six years ago, she barely survived the house fire that killed her baby brother. Now she is cautious and always plays it safe. For months, her co-worker Wyatt has begged her to come hiking with him, and Natalia finally agrees.
But when a wildfire breaks out, blocking the trail back, a perfect sunny day quickly morphs into a nightmare. With no cell service, few supplies, and no clear way out of the burning forest, a group of strangers will have to become allies if they’re going to survive. Hiking in the dark, they must reach the only way out―a foot bridge over a deep canyon―before the fire catches them.
Title: Playing with Fire
Author: April Henry
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Survival, Contemporary
This book was exciting, nerve-wracking, and very well-paced! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time waiting to see how they were going to solve their next challenge.
I like that the plot started almost right off the bat. The first chapter told us how the fire was started and then jumped into the story in the second chapter.
As well, when I say this book was nerve-wracking, I mean it! Literally everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Someone got hurt, or sick, or nearly died in every chapter. I was so anxious by the end and half convinced that I would never hike again. Hahah. But I liked that it kept me so intrigued with what would happen next and invested in the characters. It was truly a page turner.
Something else I enjoyed, that was kinda a small thing, were the time stamps on each chapter. It helped me to keep track of how things were going for them, but I also just thought it was interesting and a nice touch to the story. Speaking of time, we also get a few flashbacks of Natalia’s to help us understand what happened to her and her family all those years ago. It was sad and heartbreaking and really helped me to connect a little better to the character.
Also, the characters were so wonderfully written and diverse and I loved them. Everyone had to their quirks and weaknesses and strengths and I loved learning about these things. Also, the author is juggling a lot of characters here, twelve to be exact, but I felt like she did a good job of keeping up with each character. I didn’t really feel like there were any that were swept under the rug or that I didn’t get to know very well so I was happy about that.
I was also happy to see there was a little bit of romance. Nothing big and crazy, but just enough to make me smile.
Overall, I was very happy with this survival book. I don’t read very many like it so I’m glad I got a good introduction into the genre. This book was a good read and if you enjoy books of strength, heartache, and survival, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.
If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 25 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and won the Oregon Book Award.