Summary: Environmental lawyer Abby Williams left her hometown of Barrens, Indiana, ten years ago and she hasn’t looked back since. She wouldn’t trade anything, like her thriving career and modern apartment in Chicago, to return back to the failing small-town that is Barrens; unless you knew the reason why Kaycee Mitchell disappeared after high school graduation. When Abby’s work brings her back to Barrens to investigate Optimal Plastics, a high profile company that brought the town back on the map, she’s forced to confront her old demons: her strained relationship with her father, ex-crushes, and high school bullies. As Abby uncovers secrets within Optimal, she discovers more and more about Kaycee’s disappearance and “The Game”, a disturbing ritual that Abby wished stayed behind ten years ago.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
This is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken!
I didn’t know too much about Bonfire before going in—okay let’s be honest, all I knew was that it was written by Krysten Ritter, but I had been really intrigued by its hype this convention season. Once I saw that Adam Silvera had given Bonfire a 5 star review himself on Goodreads, I knew that it was time to pick up Bonfire soon. I am more than excited to report that I flew through the addicting and gripping novel that is Bonfire and it has become one of my favorite reads of the year!
Bonfire is dark from the get-go. We’re introduced to Abby and her high school bullies, Kaycee and Misha, right from the start and the mysterious illness that claimed their senior year. The introduction made me think that Bonfire was actually a dystopian, but I was happy to find out in the next chapter that it takes place in “real life” and has mystery and thriller vibes. I found myself glued to this story for its fast-pace and its complex characters. I will say that there is a large cast of characters and at times, I lost track of more minor characters , but I enjoyed how each character really contributed to the story and Optimal case. I found myself really liking how the story interwove both small-town and big business-type politics.
Like Abby, I found myself most interested in the disappearance of Kaycee Mitchell. Throughout the novel, Abby questions if Kaycee was really sick or not and what the real reason behind her disappearance was. It takes the majority of the novel for Abby to crack the code, but it’s not just Kaycee’s disappearance that she’s uncovering; after all, she’s back in Barrens for her environmental law work against Optimal. She’s also realizing that her father is a worse position than he was when she left, and she’s trying to figure how her high school menace is now vice principal. Abby also deals with some old romantic sparks, with golden boy and now Optimal higher-upper Brent and Condor, high school dropout who now lives right across the street with his daughter. Maybe it’s because Bonfire is an adult novel, but there’s also a lot of drinking and alcohol in the novel. I didn’t mind it so much, until Abby’s drinking starts to mess with her memory. However, I think it added to the novel’s mysterious and who-dunit vibes Ritter may have been going for.
Confession time: I haven’t seen Krysten Ritter in most of her work, including the Netflix-hit Jessica Jones and the beloved Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. I think that the only film I’ve seen Krysten in is Confessions of a Shopaholic. I’m often a tad nervous about reading books written by celebrities/famous people/vloggers—basically people where you know that book-writing isn’t their most-known area of expertise—but as you can probably tell from above, I loved Ritter’s Bonfire and was really impressed by her writing style and story-telling. I look forward to see what she brings out in the book world next!
Have you read Bonfire or do you plan on picking it up? Share in the comments!