If I’m being totally honest, the main reason I wanted to read Bonfire was because it was written by Krysten Ritter, AKA Don’t Trust the B—– in Apt 23‘s Chloe and Netflix’s take on the Marvel total bad@$$ Jessica Jones. She’s witty, strong, flawed, and just a complete BOSS. Plus, if you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for damaged heroes and thrillers, which is literally everything that this book promised to be. So…sign me up! Keeping with the FIRE theme…I made a Fire in Ice, aka Apple Cider and Fireball slushie. Cheers!
Abby Williams grew up in a small town, Barrens, where the only notable thing that exists is Optimal Plastics. Her father was emotionally abusive (like, he killed her pet rabbit and fed it to her for dinner), her mother died from bone cancer, and she was tormented by the school’s mean girls– her former BFF/current Queen Bee Kaycee and her minions, Misha and Cora. At the end of their senior year, Kaycee, Misha, and Cora claimed that they were being poisoned as a result of the town’s large plant Optimal’s questionable environmental habits, but they later said they were lying to get attention. Shortly after, Kaycee disappeared for good.
“Some of us are out of place
even when we are home”
Now, Abby is working as an environmental lawyer with a designer wardrobe and living in Chicago. She seems to be doing very well for herself, which obviously means work calls her back to her home town, investigating Optimal and their habit to dump plastic chemicals into the reservoir. She bumps into Golden Boy Brent, Bad Boy Condor, Reformed Mean Girl Turned Vice Principle Misha in her hunt for answers. As she gets closer to the story, she can’t help but wonder if there was truth in Kaycee’s sickness, so she goes in search of answers: what happened to the town mean girl, and what does that have to do with the Optimal investigation now?
While I know the whole “grew up in a small town, was bullied, moves away and reinvents herself, and then goes back for work purposes” story has been done several times, I felt like the multi-mystery component of this one made it a bit unique so I definitely enjoyed the story line. Where did Kaycee go, and why has no one seen her for 10 years? Is Optimal destroying the environment and bullying/bribing the town to keep quiet? Will Abby come to terms with her past, or will she run away again? **Or will she follow Chloe’s advice:
Having said that, I honestly wish Ritter would have focused on fewer plots. Between Abby’s bullied childhood, the missing Queen Bee, daddy issues, “The Game”, love interests…it was a bit overwhelming to keep track of, and I felt that nothing really got the attention that it deserved. It was also a bit slow paced (especially at the start), and (kinda spoiler, but not really because I’m giving no plot away, but anyways, you’re warned) you find out the “bad guy” and have the final conflict AND conclusion within the final 20 pages. It seemed a bit rushed to me, but it definitely sucked me in (Taylor can testify…we were having a wine night and when she went for our second round I pulled out my book because I couldn’t wait to finish it…and this ladies and gentlemen, is why I always have at least 3 variations of reading material with me at all time).
In case you didn’t know, this is Krysten Ritter’s first book, and overall I think it went extremely well! As with any debut, there are a few kinks to be worked out, and this one was highly promoted on Bookstagram, BOTM, etc so expectations were set high, but overall I think this was an entertaining read! Hopefully she’ll stick with it and further develop her skills, because I really can see her future books being quite exceptional.
Have you had the chance to read this one? Let me know what you thought! Also, BRB, going to binge watch Jessica Jones and complain that season 2 isn’t out yet.