Review: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
Can you ever outrun your past?

From actress, producer, and writer Krysten Ritter, a gripping, tightly wound suspense novel about a woman forced to confront her past in the wake of small-town corruption

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote rural town of just five claustrophobic square miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide. 

Fun fact: I love, love, love Krysten Ritter. I mean, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23?! Seriously, one of the funniest shows ever! I've watched each episode a million times but I still find them hilarious. 

Anyhow, when I hear that Krysten was releasing her debut book, I was BEYOND excited; however, I will admit that I was a bit weary. I love Krysten as an actress but could I love her as a writer? That's the question I had hanging around in my head prior to starting Bonfire

The result? Bonfire managed to 100% WOW me! Not only was the storyline suspenseful and intricate but also the writing was rich and enveloping. Basically, I was hooked from the first word until the very last. 

One of my favorite parts of Bonfire was the characters. They were complex and an interesting mix, or medium, between likable and unlikable - complicated I guess is the best way to describe them. 

Abby Williams, the narrator, is the prime example of this. When we're first introduced to Abby, she's not looking forward to returning to her hometown; however, a small part of her wants to go back, to show everyone that she isn't the meek, shy girl she used to be. I feel that the feelings Abby felt were representative of anyone returning to their hometown under a guise of mixed feelings. It was interesting to see how Abby fit back into her old small town, mixing with the town's golden boy, the former mean girls, and the class burnout. It caused for her to experience a wide amount of character growth, and while some of her decisions, especially in regards to the town's biggest mystery, caused frustration, I was still always dying to know what she would do next, and more importantly, what it would mean for Abby's future. 

When I first saw the cover for Bonfire I was expecting an intense read, and that's exactly what I received. What I loved the most about the plot was how intricate it was. There was corruption, mysteries involving the town's beloved factory and former it-girl, and even a rebirth of sorts in the case of Abby. I don't want to say too much about the plot as it's something you just need to experience for yourself. But I will say I loved it. It kept me on my toes. It shocked me time and time again. Some parts of it were hard to handle, but given the stunning, well written way in which Krysten presented the tale it was well worth it. 

In all, Bonfire is a spectacular read! Krysten has become not only a favorite actress of mine but now a favorite author as well. I simply can't wait to see what she writes next! 

Grade: A+ 

Bonfire is now out! 

Source: eARC provided as part of Penguin's First to Read program 

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  1. I love Krysten Ritter as well, but I wasn't so sure when I heard she was coming out with a book. Glad to hear it exceeded your expectations!!

  2. Complicated characters and corruptions sounds like a good mix to me. Great review!

  3. Yay yay yay so happy you adored this! I've never watched Jessica Jones (although it is on Netflix and I keep meaning to) and I think it's so cool that the actress has written a book. I also love the sound of the characters.

    Fantastic review, Lauren :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words


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