Playing With Fire: April Henry

Published: 1/19/2021
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Pages: 233
Genre: YA, Adventure
Review: library book

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.

April Henry is one of my favorite authors. I remember the first book I read, and I fell in love with her writing. I ordered this book for my library and have been getting the students to read her work. They have told me so many good things about this book that I finally jumped in a read it. What happens when you are in the forest, and a forest fire starts? Can you survive? That is the question for our characters as they all come together to survive. Wyatt and Natalie have some survival training which I think is fantastic, and I enjoyed how they had to think of how to use things that generally we all wouldn't. While trying to survive, Natalie remembers her past, where she almost lost her life. Yet, as we get towards the end, you can see that she is growing and learning that sometimes things are out of your control. Overall a good book for high school readers and adults as well. Very clean, and the plot is at a steady pace.

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 27 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have been on the New York Times bestseller lists, gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into seven languages, been named to state reading lists, won the Anthony award and won the Oregon Book Award.


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