As a sucker for survivalist stories, I knew I couldn’t pass up Playing With Fire by April Henry. It’s a young adult survivalist thriller about a group of hikers trying to outrace a forest fire in Oregon.
Natalia is no stranger to trauma: when she was 11 years old, her life was completely changed by a devastating house fire. Years later, while on a first date hiking with a boy from work, she’s forced to face her fears when they’re trapped by a rogue forest fire. Along with a bunch of other stranded hikers, they try to find a way to make it to safety before it’s too late.
*I received this book for free from the publisher (Macmillan Children’s – Henry Holt BYR) in exchange for an honest review.
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Playing With Fire by April Henry: My Thoughts
Playing With Fire is a quick read, with lots of high-octane action as the characters try to outrace a fire in the middle of a forest. The group has to weather one terrifying situation after another to get to safety, and the tension never lets up.
I learned a ton about survival and first aid from this story. I’ve always been intrigued by that kind of thing, so I really enjoyed that here! I was also surprised to hear the premise of this is based on a forest fire that actually happened in Oregon.
I would have liked more characterization, though. The characters didn’t have a ton of personality, and some of them almost felt like simplified stereotypes (like the old woman who called everyone ‘honey’). Even so, I still cared for all the characters and was rooting for them the whole way.
Overall, this was an enjoyable YA survival thriller that’ll tug at your heartstrings!
Rating: 3.75 (out of 5) stars
Release date: January 19th, 2021
Looking for more great book recommendations? Check out my list of exciting YA book releases in winter 2021!