Bonfire
Should you ever go back?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’ 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 Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of 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 miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

Bonfire Details

TitleBonfire
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherHutchinson
ISBN-139781786331021
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

Bonfire Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    Krysten Ritter rocks. Not only is she a total badass on Jessica Jones, and she rocked my world (and made me laugh out loud constantly) on her old television series Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 (still bitter it was canceled), but now her debut novel, Bonfire, is a really good read. I hate overachievers...Abby Williams couldn't get out of her Indiana hometown, Barrens, fast enough. Tormented by her childhood best friend Kaycee and her band of mean-girl minions, mistreated by her father, she Krysten Ritter rocks. Not only is she a total badass on Jessica Jones, and she rocked my world (and made me laugh out loud constantly) on her old television series Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 (still bitter it was canceled), but now her debut novel, Bonfire, is a really good read. I hate overachievers...Abby Williams couldn't get out of her Indiana hometown, Barrens, fast enough. Tormented by her childhood best friend Kaycee and her band of mean-girl minions, mistreated by her father, she fled the first chance she got, changed her accident and landed a job as an environmental lawyer in Chicago."I couldn't even explain it to myself. All I knew is that Barrens broke something inside of me. It warped the needles on my compass and turned the south to north and lies to truth and vice versa."Ten years later, Abby's firm is investigating Optimal Plastics, the most high-profile company in Barrens, and the one that single-handedly rescued the town from all but certain elimination. The thought of going home again and facing her nemeses, including her father, is almost too much to bear, but she'll admit that the opportunity to enact a little revenge isn't totally unappealing. But it's not too long after she arrives back in Barrens that she realizes that the more things change the more they stay the same—or people want to pretend things have changed, even when they haven't.As Abby and her colleagues try to make sense of whether Optimal is truly the town's savior or more of a danger, she finds herself unable to shake her memories of a scandal that Kaycee and her three friends were involved in all those years ago, a scandal which could possibly have ties to the problems with Optimal occurring today. She's desperate to find out what really happened to Kaycee, who allegedly disappeared all those years ago, and she is trying to decide whom she should trust—if anyone.To uncover the truth, Abby must reopen doors that people want to remain closed, and that includes coming to terms with her father as well. She finds a web of blackmail, corruption, trading sexual favors, and lie upon lie. Her job and her mental state, perhaps even her life, are at stake.I'm always a little bit dubious when a celebrity writes a novel. Sure, there are talented writers among them, but for every Carrie Fisher and Ethan Hawke comes a James Franco or Joan Collins. Ritter has a natural voice as a storyteller, and the book quickly hooks you and doesn't let you go, even as you may see how things will play themselves out. She is particularly impressive with her imagery as well as her descriptions of emotions, and what it's like to return home to a place where you never felt comfortable anyway.It's not a perfect debut—she falls into the trap that so many action and crime movies do, where the villain gives a long, dramatic speech justifying why they were so hell-bent on destroying everything. (See Michael Shannon in Man of Steel for one.) But while that is a little annoying, I found Bonfire a really compelling read, one I devoured pretty quickly and enjoyed quite a bit. I'll definitely be looking out for Ritter's next book at some point.Okay, Krysten...now how about a Don't Trust the... reunion?NetGalley and Crown Publishing provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is an atmosphere drenched and compelling crime debut from Krysten Ritter set in Barrens, a small town in Indiana. As children, Abby Williams and Kaycee Mitchell were best friends, only for Kaycee to turn on Abby with her coterie of friends at school. Hating her father and her miserable life, Abby is the one that got away. She lives in Chicago and is a environmental lawyer, returning to Barrens after a decade away, to investigate Optimal Plastics, a corporation that singlehandedly saved Barr This is an atmosphere drenched and compelling crime debut from Krysten Ritter set in Barrens, a small town in Indiana. As children, Abby Williams and Kaycee Mitchell were best friends, only for Kaycee to turn on Abby with her coterie of friends at school. Hating her father and her miserable life, Abby is the one that got away. She lives in Chicago and is a environmental lawyer, returning to Barrens after a decade away, to investigate Optimal Plastics, a corporation that singlehandedly saved Barrens from economic and social devastation. It funds a number of social enterprises, provides scholarships and employment, and is at the heart of the community, with the majority of the town fiercely loyal to the company. Optimal is, however, dogged by rumours of corruption, contaminating the water supply and more. Abby may have moved away from Barrens, but Barrens and its secrets have never left her. This time she wants answers to the past, only to find that the past looms large in the present.Abby arrives in Barren with a group that includes her best friend, Joe, a black gay lawyer, setting up office on the Gallagher farm. They find a community hostile to their presence and the threat they represent. Two complainants drop their claims, but they continue to probe. Abby finds herself confronted by ghosts from the past, from the meanest girl, Mischa, who is now Vice Principal at Barren High School to her father who is a shadow of his former self. Haunted by Kaycee, a talented painter, telling her that problem is not that she cannot draw but that she does not see, Abby is convinced there is a connection with Kaycee and their current investigation into Optimal. Kaycee was popular, a born liar, poisoned Abby's dog, involved in the deplorable Game and blackmail, and apparently pretended to be sick with her friends to scam payments from Optimal and left Barrens soon after. However, Abby had seen Kaycee coughing up blood and displaying other worrying symptoms, and knows Kaycee was sick. Abby strikes up a relationship with Condor and Brent, and finds her drinking is spiralling out of control, all too aware that she is drawn to things that hurt the most. As all those close to her abandon her, questioning her conviction that the past and Kaycee is relevant and connected to Optimal, Abby finds her sanity is on the line as the past threatens to bury her.Krysten Ritter has written a gripping and beautifully written crime debut. It is tense and suspenseful, drawing in the reader with ease. The greatest strengths of the book lie in the complex character creation and development of Abby, a woman who wants to come to terms with the past so that she can be alive in the present. Ritter presents a picture of a woman paying a heavy price as she gets closer to the truth, no-one believes her, yet despite her life disintegrating around her, she clings on with a tenuous grip with determination. She wants to do right by her childhood friend, Kaycee, even though Kaycee is a less than admirable character. The portrayal of Barren and its community is done remarkably well. I loved this brilliant book and whilst it does have its flaws, I recommend it highly. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
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  • Adam Silvera
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, Krysten Ritter is the star of Netflix's JESSICA JONES, but this thriller is damn good independent of its celebrity author. It's addicting and gritty and fast-paced. Hope you get obsessed too!
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review.i requested this from Netgalley mainly from curiousity as i am a fan of Krysten Ritter's acting so wondered if she could also write.turns out she can, i was pleasantly surprised at how well this novel was written. it is a multilayered story with recurring themes of family, bullying, enviromental concerns and memory. in other words for her debut Ritter went with a go big or go home gameplan and approach. and she handled mu thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review.i requested this from Netgalley mainly from curiousity as i am a fan of Krysten Ritter's acting so wondered if she could also write.turns out she can, i was pleasantly surprised at how well this novel was written. it is a multilayered story with recurring themes of family, bullying, enviromental concerns and memory. in other words for her debut Ritter went with a go big or go home gameplan and approach. and she handled much of it with aplomb and skill. my main critique os the MC isnt very likeable and in some places it seems a little heavy handed.( the majority isnt though it has some subtlety but the heavy handed parts annoyed mw enough to take a star or so off).overall id rate this between 3 and 3.5 stars
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  • Portia Lynn (itsportiasbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    GUYS. KRYSTEN RITTER WROTE A BOOK. Memories are like fire, and need only a little oxygen to grow. I have been a huge fan of hers since Veronica Mars days. I will watch anything she is in. So when I found out she was crossing into my favorite world, the book world, I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. I rushed to see if it was available on Netgalley. Then worried I wouldn't get approved. BUT THEN I DID. So of course I started it immediately. Im so excited to say that it sucked me in so quickly, I had a ha GUYS. KRYSTEN RITTER WROTE A BOOK. Memories are like fire, and need only a little oxygen to grow. I have been a huge fan of hers since Veronica Mars days. I will watch anything she is in. So when I found out she was crossing into my favorite world, the book world, I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. I rushed to see if it was available on Netgalley. Then worried I wouldn't get approved. BUT THEN I DID. So of course I started it immediately. Im so excited to say that it sucked me in so quickly, I had a hard time putting it down! You know what is coming now right? YES. A review full of Krysten Ritter gifs!!! YAY! First let me address any possible hesitation you may have about reading this book. You know how when a singer is so famous they get full of themselves and think they can act too? (AHEM, Mariah Carey) Or just because you can act means you can also sing? Well what if just because she is a talented actress/ producer that means she can write a book without it sucking? I have faith in her, but the question still lingered. But all of that was pretty quickly put to silence the farther into the book I got. I'm not going to recap the entire synopsis for you, because ideally you read that on your way to seeing this review. So I will just jump in. Our protagonist, Abby, has headed back home after many years for work - and by work, I obviously mean facing people and uncovering secrets from her past. Okay, so there is some actual work involved too. She is an environmental lawyer, and the only real experience I have with what they do comes from Erin Brockovich. But it felt well researched, which always makes me happy. So she goes in headstrong, in attempt to not let everyonein town turn her back into the weak person she once was. She is pretty likable, until she hits the point where she is on the verge of being an unreliable narrator - which I love! Like, is she crazy? Is she onto something? She is clearly drinking to much and this might just be spiraling out of control! Who knows?! Not her. Not me. Lol....There are quite a few aspects of evil going on here. You have the case of the missing girl from high school, the case of the plastic company infecting the town water supply, "THE GAME", and how, if at all, they tie together. Old classmates come into play, one particular boy she used to swoon over who basically runs things at the plastic company. The leftover "mean girl" who pretends to play nice, the boy that grew up to be a better man than anyone expected.... and of course, her personal troubles with her dad. Like, she has a lot of shit going on. Ritter makes it so that even the reader isn't sure who trust, and there is a tug back and forth on all the characters and your level of trust in them. Everyone is so sketchy in some way, aside from her coworkers. Her best friend and the two interns are pretty great, and maybe could've used more time on the pages. Everything doesn't start coming all together until the last like, 25% of the book. Then it's crunch time. Then shit gets crazy. I love every second of it. I love her unraveling, and then things becoming clear suddenly. The whole book just kept me glued to the pages. So the only thing about this book that may make it more of a 4.5 for me as opposed to the full 5 stars is that I kind of question how all the pieces story fit together. Like, my brain keeps second guessing whether or not they makes sense as a whole puzzle, with each piece fit into place. But maybe I need to allow them to be slightly separate entities. But I love how it ended for Abby, on a very independent note. I definitely recommend this book. I really hope it gets the audio book treatment, and that Krysten Ritter will voice it. I read it with her Jessica Jones voice in my head, I couldn't help myself. I would be happy to read this again via audio if she does that!**ARC provided via Netgalley and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review!**
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  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    I would say this is the best novel by an actor I've ever read, but I'm not actually sure I've ever read any other novels by actors. Either way, this is good stuff, not just some indulgent vanity project. Ritter's debut is a pacy legal thriller which has Abby Williams, a young lawyer, returning home to Barrens, Indiana, where she's plagued by memories of a long-lost friend and finds a powerful corporation covering up evidence of corruption. Let's say it's Gillian Flynn meets Erin Brockovich.I cou I would say this is the best novel by an actor I've ever read, but I'm not actually sure I've ever read any other novels by actors. Either way, this is good stuff, not just some indulgent vanity project. Ritter's debut is a pacy legal thriller which has Abby Williams, a young lawyer, returning home to Barrens, Indiana, where she's plagued by memories of a long-lost friend and finds a powerful corporation covering up evidence of corruption. Let's say it's Gillian Flynn meets Erin Brockovich.I couldn't help picturing Abby as Jessica Jones – perhaps because that's the only role I've seen Ritter play, but there are other similarities. Abby does a lot of ill-advised drinking and has a habit of making bad decisions; she's also driven and incredibly tenacious. The Barrens of her youth was a quintessential small town where everyone knew everyone's business. Bullied at school by a clique of girls and at home by her stern, religious father, Abby was relieved to get the hell out. Ten years later, she finds Barrens dominated by Optimal, a large company which employs most of the population and seems to have a finger in every pie. The firm she works for is out to prove Optimal have been polluting the local water supply. The locals, however, are fiercely resistant.The book opens with a striking sequence in which a teenage girl collapses dramatically during mock elections. This turns out to be a scene from Abby's youth: in the last year of high school, her childhood best friend Kaycee was struck by a mystery illness which sparked a wave of hysterical copycats. Kaycee could be unspeakably cruel – she joined in the bullying, and Abby suspects she may even have killed the Williams' dog – but Abby can't shake off memories of her. Kaycee 'ran away' after leaving school and hasn't been seen since; her family and former friends seem oddly disinterested in tracking her down. Abby becomes increasingly convinced that while the other girls may have faked it, Kaycee's sickness was genuine, and Optimal were responsible – may even have killed her.Bonfire packs in a lot of character background yet is still a compelling mystery. The subplot about Abby's father's illness is poignant; Ritter even finds a way to make use of the otherwise annoying love triangle between Abby and two local guys. (I also loved the way this was concluded.) The questions of a) Kaycee's disappearance and b) whatever Optimal's doing are both as gripping as each other. All in all, I was really impressed by this clever and captivating story.I received an advance review copy of Bonfire from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    3 starsCan we go home again, or maybe the question should be should we go home again? Abby Williams does just that, she goes home, but returns as an environmental lawyer digging into a possible case against a corporate giant company Optimal Plastics. She has been gone for ten years but remembers all the horrible things that had happened to her while growing up Barrens Indiana. She remembers the cruelty of her fellow students especially her former best friend Kaycee Williams. Kaycee had disappear 3 starsCan we go home again, or maybe the question should be should we go home again? Abby Williams does just that, she goes home, but returns as an environmental lawyer digging into a possible case against a corporate giant company Optimal Plastics. She has been gone for ten years but remembers all the horrible things that had happened to her while growing up Barrens Indiana. She remembers the cruelty of her fellow students especially her former best friend Kaycee Williams. Kaycee had disappeared but the memories of all that had happened, the supposed feigned illnesses, the shaming of girls targeted as weak, the playing of The Game comes rushing back in foggy memories.Abby, tries to unravel the connection between what happened ten years ago and now. How is Optimal, the savior of the town involved, and how will she get people to believe her now that she dredges up one conspiracy theory after another? Compounding all of this is the extremely tenuous relationship she has with her father. Abby's world seems to be crashing as she descends further and further into wanting to believe and trying to prove that what she feels is right. The two worlds that Abby experiences come to a conclusion that in reality was ever so expected. This was at times a very confusing novel. It meandered through relationships and made sometimes tenuous connections. It seemed to that the the heroine of this tale always seemed to be in a drunken state wandering from one bar to another, drinking one drink after another. In this she lost her true voice as the main protagonist and seemed detrimental to all she was trying to convey. The author tries to make Abby a pathetic sad creature but in doing so she creates a character that is often one that dredges up little sympathy. Thanks to NetGallery and Crown Publishing for providing an advanced copy for an unbiased review.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Being a lawyer is a little like being a doctor in reverse : you look for the damage and try to grow it, try to push in, dig a little deeper, open up the festering places.BONFIRE was pretty close to being a hit for me. Unfortunately there were a few little issues that kept cropping up which kept this from getting a rounded-up rating from me.In a small town where everyone knows everyone, it takes real skill to look the other way.I might have clicked this title because I like the actress who wrote Being a lawyer is a little like being a doctor in reverse : you look for the damage and try to grow it, try to push in, dig a little deeper, open up the festering places.BONFIRE was pretty close to being a hit for me. Unfortunately there were a few little issues that kept cropping up which kept this from getting a rounded-up rating from me.In a small town where everyone knows everyone, it takes real skill to look the other way.I might have clicked this title because I like the actress who wrote it but the synopsis drew me in, too. And I have to say : Ritter wove a really complex, layered, intriguing mystery that touches on the memories that haunt us even when we move on (or away), twisted up with highschool bullying, corrupt corporations, environmental issues, and greed. But the best part might be how she dealt with the sensitive and darker elements to her plot without ever having to go the shock and awe route. She wasn't gratuitous; even the romance-y moments were kept off page. This was about the story, the characters, the lies, the secrets, and she didn't truss any of it up with any t&a.There are the people of the world who squeeze and the ones who suffocate.While I did quite enjoy some of the mindfuckery aspects of the story as seen through the eyes of the main protagonist, it was Abby's extracurricular habit of drinking to excess and sifting through her memories of the night before that waned on me. I get that it added an element of suspense and that some of her actions were coming from a place of grief or emotional trauma, in a sense, but I found it not only unprofessional considering why she was back in her hometown but also frustrating as a reader. Also, I did guess the villain of the piece.. though I'll admit I didn't guess the how or why. So there might have been some of that typical 'don't call [blank]! don't let them in the house! you fool!' shouting going on in my head.. even if I couldn't figure out how it all tied up.Strangers make you feel like family should be the most important thing. Blood is thicker than water, that kind of thing. How are you supposed to act when it's not?I quite enjoyed Ritter's writing. Some passages were especially haunting, beautiful, and poignant, and the mystery itself was well-plotted and paced with suspense. I really did like the story and how all the element tied together. There is a lot of talent in this debut and I hope she intends to write more -- either related to this set of characters or otherwise -- as I'll definitely be picking it up.3.5 "half the evil in the world, I think, must be someone just doing their job" stars** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this intense and atmospheric tale from Krysten Ritter - whilst it is far from being the first "Girl escapes small town only later having to return and face her demons" tale I have read, it is definitely one of the ones of superior quality and storytelling - Abby as a character immediately engaged me and the well layered, twisted yet authentic plot just sealed the deal.Big corporation v socially engaged lawyer is another type of story that I love to read - this is I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this intense and atmospheric tale from Krysten Ritter - whilst it is far from being the first "Girl escapes small town only later having to return and face her demons" tale I have read, it is definitely one of the ones of superior quality and storytelling - Abby as a character immediately engaged me and the well layered, twisted yet authentic plot just sealed the deal.Big corporation v socially engaged lawyer is another type of story that I love to read - this is also the defining theme within "Bonfire" which the author uses to great effect - mixing up Abby's past life with her present, making her see things with new eyes and eventually leading us to answers and a rather heart stopping conclusion. I liked that Abby was portrayed as strong, driven, yet haunted by her very realistic demons - there was no sense of safety within the story for her at all, no promises made that she would endure. The supporting cast are cleverly woven in, the socially relevant big corporation cover up is given a new little twist and ultimately this is a tale of redemption and understanding. Sometimes you know, you just can't go home....The small town setting is beautifully described, you can smell the "Bonfire" in the air, see the good and the bad and all the area's in between - I want to describe it in some ways as "mean girls on acid" but that doesn't really say what I mean, Krysten Ritter building her relationships between the people you meet in an intelligent and thought provoking way. The mystery elements are clever, you'll love/hate/love Kaycee as remembered by Abby and the ups and downs between these two girls is one of the strengths here.Very good indeed. Yes. I'm aware of course that the author is a well known and much admired actress - I have not watched any of her screen moments but I'm fairly sure that if she is as good an actress as she is writer I'd better go track them down.Recommended.
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  • Noha Badawi
    January 1, 1970
    Around the 3.50 stars.This book is worth the read; it speaks volumes on teenage girls and how they bully, destroy one another during school instead of empowering each other.Thank you Penguin UK books for my advance reader copy Bonfire is the story of Abby Williams who left her home years ago to escape the small town life and all she's been through during high school. Working as an environmental lawyer, she's to go back to her town for a case. One that will open up the doors to a past she never w Around the 3.50 stars.This book is worth the read; it speaks volumes on teenage girls and how they bully, destroy one another during school instead of empowering each other.Thank you Penguin UK books for my advance reader copy Bonfire is the story of Abby Williams who left her home years ago to escape the small town life and all she's been through during high school. Working as an environmental lawyer, she's to go back to her town for a case. One that will open up the doors to a past she never wanted to revisit again. What I liked:- the moral it stands for, the fact that bullying is to be stood up too when it occurs because years later the pain of facing it will be much much worse. - how the author wrote the characters to portray what girls really do to each other - sadly - they have the power to bring down and destroy one another as much as they have the power to lift each other up. It's a choice to be a made, which side of the line you stand up on. What I didn't like:- the pace and construction of the chapters. I found them to be shorter than the plot needed them to be. They also felt a bit all over the place at a certain point it takes time to understand what's really happening. I highly recommend this for girls passing through their high school years and college first years because it is very r e l a t a b l e. Also, all Pretty Little Liars fans will enjoy this book very much.
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  • Iryna (Book and Sword)
    January 1, 1970
    I am never into celebrity books, but for some reason I really want to read this one. The fact that it's fiction helps. And that Kristen Ritter is pretty awesome. Somebody give me an ARC, please and thank you ✌🏻
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    BONFIRE Written by Krysten RitterI am in the minority having never heard of Krysten Ritter before reading this suspense filled debut novel called "BONFIRE." I think her writing style is one that flows naturally, peppered with metaphors and similes. I found her storytelling skills quite captivating and I enjoyed this mystery especially towards reaching the conclusion. As I reached near the end of the book, I found myself not wanting to say goodbye to Abby. I really liked Abby's character and how BONFIRE Written by Krysten RitterI am in the minority having never heard of Krysten Ritter before reading this suspense filled debut novel called "BONFIRE." I think her writing style is one that flows naturally, peppered with metaphors and similes. I found her storytelling skills quite captivating and I enjoyed this mystery especially towards reaching the conclusion. As I reached near the end of the book, I found myself not wanting to say goodbye to Abby. I really liked Abby's character and how she was able to come to terms with her past. Abby returns home to her small midwestern home with a heavy heart. She is an environmental lawyer tasked with investigating a multi-million dollar corporation that is suspected of political corruption and a multitude of violations including dumping hazardous waste materials in the town's water supply. The deeper Abby looks into this corporation the more she unravels which has wide implications leading her to have to deal with many of her former classmates who were mean spirited to her throughout her year's in high school.Abby left her hometown ten years earlier three days after her high school graduation completely reinventing herself in Chicago. She has returned with a job to do that requires dealing again with a father she has been estranged from and many of the same classmates that bullied her relentlessly. The corporation she is investigating has poured money into her hometown and has provided the community with most of the jobs and funds a scholarship program for Abby's former high school.Abby finds herself having to interview a woman named Misha, who was one of the girl's that was more spiteful in high school. Misha is now the vice principal at the high school who is responsible for choosing student's that will receive the scholarships. Misha is involved in a conspiracy that is connected to the powerful corporation that is allegedly dumping their hazardous waste into the drinking water.This was a story that conveys that you cannot outrun your past. It was an enjoyable, addictive read that had me turning the pages. The more Abby discovers the deeper the secrets lie where it comes to a point when you don't know how deep the tentacle's of this corrupt corporation run. As Abby uncovers the corruption she discovers that she doesn't know who to trust. As a reader you are just as surprised as Abby is in each of her discoveries.Thank you to Net Galley, Krysten Ritter and Random House Publishing for providing me with my digital copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Gripping, moody, intense, super readable. One of the few times I think a comp to Gillian Flynn is actually appropriate. Can't wait to talk about this one.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I love Krysten Ritter, and was so excited to read this book as an ARC. The two-star rating is spot-on for the Goodreads definition: it was okay. This turned out to be a typical thriller - down to the climactic but telegraphed ending - that read like Gillian Flynn's backlist. (I mean this as a compliment to both Ritter and Flynn. They both get the creepy small town vibe exactly right.) If you liked Sharp Objects, you'll also like Bonfire. I enjoyed the first half of the book considerably more tha I love Krysten Ritter, and was so excited to read this book as an ARC. The two-star rating is spot-on for the Goodreads definition: it was okay. This turned out to be a typical thriller - down to the climactic but telegraphed ending - that read like Gillian Flynn's backlist. (I mean this as a compliment to both Ritter and Flynn. They both get the creepy small town vibe exactly right.) If you liked Sharp Objects, you'll also like Bonfire. I enjoyed the first half of the book considerably more than the second half. Abby, the protagonist, began to unravel for me as the story continued. She felt less like a real person than a convenient way to propel the plot. (view spoiler)[Her relationships with Kaycee and the men in Barrens felt a little too intense too quickly. The Kaycee relationship makes some kind of sense until the end, when she's a little too obsessed with finding her (though I will say that the reveal of Kaycee's fate is SO CREEPY, despite the formulaic ending sequence). I think all of the drinking and the weird "was it real?" sequences were what reminded me the most strongly of Camille in Sharp Objects. Abby felt more real than Camille to me, but not by much. (hide spoiler)] A few of the secondary characters felt more unique and grounded, particularly Misha, and that's what kept me interested.It's impressive that this is a debut, and I hope Ritter keeps writing!
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  • Jamie Canaves
    January 1, 1970
    I am here for an adaptation starring Krysten Ritter.
  • Emily Berge
    January 1, 1970
    Addicting and thrilling - a solid thriller with a moody setting
  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    Is it possible for this to be anything but AMAZING?This is giving me Jessica Jones vibes and I am totally okay with that.
  • Amy's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    ***I received a complimentary copy of BONFIRE from First to Read in exchange for my honest review ***Ten years after high school graduation, Abby Williams returns to her hometown to investigate environmental concerns at a local water plant. Now a lawyer, she feels more like the bullied teenager she left behind when she encounters former classmates who may or may not know more than they are saying. Actress Krysten Ritter proves her talents aren’t limited to in front of the camera in her debut nov ***I received a complimentary copy of BONFIRE from First to Read in exchange for my honest review ***Ten years after high school graduation, Abby Williams returns to her hometown to investigate environmental concerns at a local water plant. Now a lawyer, she feels more like the bullied teenager she left behind when she encounters former classmates who may or may not know more than they are saying. Actress Krysten Ritter proves her talents aren’t limited to in front of the camera in her debut novel. Abby drinks too much and sticks up for herself too little as past and present combine in her small hometown. She’s haunted by her frienemy Kaycee, who left town amid scandal of a made up illness. If my former friend turned bully had killed my dog and rubbed my face in it, the last thing I would feel for her is empathy, no matter what her circumstance, but Abby is both drawn to and repelled by Kaycee. Ritter’s writing style kept me turning pages after bedtime and while the plot was a at times unbelievable, it was never boring. BONFIRE has cross appeal for teens and adults.
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  • Stephanie Gillespie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGallery and Crown Publishing for providing an advanced copy for an unbiased review.I love Krysten Ritter in Breaking bad and Jessica Jones so naturally I was excited to read this book. Sadly I was a little disappointed. Right away reading the book I felt like it had a very generic story line. It was the same story about a girl who leaves her hometown and then something causes her to come back.Now has to face all the people and problems from her past. I’m not saying it was a bad stor Thanks to NetGallery and Crown Publishing for providing an advanced copy for an unbiased review.I love Krysten Ritter in Breaking bad and Jessica Jones so naturally I was excited to read this book. Sadly I was a little disappointed. Right away reading the book I felt like it had a very generic story line. It was the same story about a girl who leaves her hometown and then something causes her to come back.Now has to face all the people and problems from her past. I’m not saying it was a bad story I did enjoy it, I was just expecting a little more.For a debut novel, it was a solid effort and I look forward to any other novels she may write in the future. The writing style was simple yet compelling, it sucks you into the story. I would say it's more of a drama than a suspense. The villain of the story to me was pretty obvious, I had it pinned down almost upon meeting the character. So that took a lot of the mystery of out it, but the reason why I wouldn’t have guessed.I recommend this novel to readers first getting into thrillers or just enjoy non frightening mysteries.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    The more I read, the more I didn't want to put it down. I read about 2/3 of it just today. Abby has become an environmental lawyer, and is on a case back in her small hometown. She is haunted by the death of her childhood friend 10 years ago, and she starts to uncover corruption that is ties to people all over town. She doesn't know who to trust, and the suspense builds consistently throughout the story. **Read via NetGalley
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    "The past is a trick of the mind. It's a story we misunderstand over and over."Gritty. Addictive. Solid debut.Full review to be posted closer to the release date but...wow.*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • HopelessBookAddict
    January 1, 1970
    OMG! Can you say awesome! I lovedddd this book! Krysten Ritter is an amazing actress and now an amazing author! I am so happy I got an arc of this book! Cannot wait to purchase the final copy in November :) 5.0 out of 5.0! 🔥
  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Abby Williams returns home, although she was never comfortable in Barrens (great name) Indiana, and has forged a new life for herself as an environmental attorney in Chicago. Having thought she left Barrens in her rear view mirror, Abby finds old buttons being pushed, and memories and an almost too-wicked-to-be-believed big corporation threaten to unspool her completely. Flawed and not entirely reliable, Abby finds her focus shifting more and more from her stated goal of investigating the town's Abby Williams returns home, although she was never comfortable in Barrens (great name) Indiana, and has forged a new life for herself as an environmental attorney in Chicago. Having thought she left Barrens in her rear view mirror, Abby finds old buttons being pushed, and memories and an almost too-wicked-to-be-believed big corporation threaten to unspool her completely. Flawed and not entirely reliable, Abby finds her focus shifting more and more from her stated goal of investigating the town's water supply. The plot spins along at a nice pace, even if the reader can see the resolution coming from a mile away, which keeps this from being a solid 4 star. Ritter's experience as an actor has given her a gift for dialogue, and there is some truly poetic writing ("Only the present is solid. The past is smoke.") Krysten Ritter's bio reports that she is the founder of a production company that "aims to highlight complex female protagonists," and with this, her debut novel, she has created a woman right in that mold. She'd do a lot worse than launching with this as the basis for a film with her playing the part of Abby. This debut proves that she is not a one-trick pony. I, for one, hope that this is the beginning of a series and that we'll see Abby Williams in future installments.
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  • Reg Mars
    January 1, 1970
    I was really looking forward to reading this book the moment I heard it was announced. I’m a big Breaking Bad and Jessica Jones fan. Plus I heard Krysten Ritter was inspired by Gillian Flynn, who is one of my favorite authors. So I was super intrigued and excited to finally get my hands on this book. Did I end up enjoying it as much as I hoped I would have? Not exactly…Right away reading the book I felt like it had a very generic story line. I feel this is a story that I’ve heard a bunch of time I was really looking forward to reading this book the moment I heard it was announced. I’m a big Breaking Bad and Jessica Jones fan. Plus I heard Krysten Ritter was inspired by Gillian Flynn, who is one of my favorite authors. So I was super intrigued and excited to finally get my hands on this book. Did I end up enjoying it as much as I hoped I would have? Not exactly…Right away reading the book I felt like it had a very generic story line. I feel this is a story that I’ve heard a bunch of times with no real twist to it. It was the same old girl leaves her hometown and then something causes her to come back and she now has to face all the people and problems from her past. There wasn’t anything that really jumped out at me that made it unique. I read the whole story but I was never dying to know what was going to happen. I also didn’t really find anything to be very shocking. It ended up reminding me a lot of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.I do have to say I only really enjoyed the ending but I felt that was kinda rushed. I feel everything happened so quickly and then it got solved pretty fast. I wanted a little bit more out of it. I felt it should have lasted longer. I also didn’t find it all that shocking. I feel like it’s the most obvious outcome you could give which is a shame because I always enjoy a good twist.Overall I feel I ended up over hyping this book for myself. It wasn’t what I expected at all. I was pretty let down by the main story and the conclusion didn’t shock me as much as I had hoped. I am happy I ended up getting a copy of this early because I was really looking forward to reading it. It is a shame I didn’t like it like I hoped I would but it happens. I most likely would attempt to read another book by Krysten Ritter if she writes another.
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  • Rozeltte
    January 1, 1970
    I was amped to read it, but started regretting it about 9 chapters in. It had so much potential, but became one of those "I have to finish it because Wikipedia has no spoilers" scenarios.
  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    January 1, 1970
    Krysten Ritter wrote a novel and the whole world just stopped in awe.I may be a bit biased because I think she’s amazing; she is the epitome of a Renaissance Woman. Admittedly when I first found out she wrote a book I was a bit nervous to read it because it’s so easy for established celebrities to get stuff published since the industry knows people in general will buy it based on the name and not whether it’s actually any good. Of course there are those who actually turn out to be good writers b Krysten Ritter wrote a novel and the whole world just stopped in awe.I may be a bit biased because I think she’s amazing; she is the epitome of a Renaissance Woman. Admittedly when I first found out she wrote a book I was a bit nervous to read it because it’s so easy for established celebrities to get stuff published since the industry knows people in general will buy it based on the name and not whether it’s actually any good. Of course there are those who actually turn out to be good writers but then there are those who should have stuck to acting.I’m completely in love with Jessica Jones, what if this sucked? Could I ever watch her the same way again?I owe her a debt of gratitude though for not sucking as a writer so I can happily watch her in The Defenders this August. Ritter has shown she’s capable of creating her own dialogue instead of just voicing someone else’s. Her novel starts off strong and at first it reminded me a lot of the Erin Brockovich movie where you have this strong female lead hell bent on discovering what a powerful corporation is hiding and if there’s a connection between their alleged misdeeds and the community issues. Honestly as good as her writing was I was feeling a little disappointed that we were just getting recycled material under a different company name, different job for the female lead and different community issues but I quickly regathered my faith in her as I realized Ritter is definitely above using old material and threw some major curves into her story and characters.When you realize what’s happening it is so far worse and deeply entrenched than what others have done before her. She is a very descriptive writer as you’re able to not only picture the settings but you can see how these people would react, what they’d feel and how it would look as they see their misdeeds get dragged into the light. I liked how she wrote Abby because at times, like when you can feel how uncomfortable she is returning home to a place she never felt like she belonged, you can almost see Ritter’s character of Jones come through with her tough girl / I don’t want to be here persona.I actually wondered more than once if Ritter pulled on her past characters from Jones, Apartment, Veronica Mars, etc to create the people for her story because at times it felt like whether it was Abby or the bitches from high school they all had aspects of the people she’s played.Her debut isn’t flawless as sometimes it seems like Abby’s drinking gets in the way of the story, the villain is given the cliché rambling speech and I felt like there were still a few loose ends that didn’t quite tie together but overall the positives outweighed the negatives so I would definitely put this in the win column.If she writes again I’ll check that book out without reservation, not because she’s Krysten Ritter, but because she’s proved she deserves it.
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  • Casey (caseyrosereads)
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start by saying that I have a mega creative crush on Krysten Ritter. I loved her in Gilmore Girls, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, and I can’t wait for more of Jessica Jones. I love that she knits, writes, and thanks to getting to hear her speak at BookCon, know that she says to as many creative projects that feel for fun for her. As far as her debut novel, it was a middle of the road read for me, 3.5 stars.For being a short book (just 276 in the Advanced Reader's edition) it took Let me start by saying that I have a mega creative crush on Krysten Ritter. I loved her in Gilmore Girls, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, and I can’t wait for more of Jessica Jones. I love that she knits, writes, and thanks to getting to hear her speak at BookCon, know that she says to as many creative projects that feel for fun for her. As far as her debut novel, it was a middle of the road read for me, 3.5 stars.For being a short book (just 276 in the Advanced Reader's edition) it took me three days to read it, not so much because my life was busy (which it was to a mild extent) but because I wasn’t riveted by the story. Whenever a reason appeared to stand up and set the book down I never had a hard time saying no.Despite getting a fair amount of Abby’s history I never really connected with her, rooted for her, or felt much of anything other than being something of a passive observer. There were a few mysteries at the center of the story, one about the potential shady chemical dealings of the company in the town, and the mystery of what happened to Abby’s one time friend and eventual enemy, Kaycee. As the layers of the mystery get pulled back and more subplots get introduced the story starts to feel a little thin under the weight of all its trying to juggle.Without spoiling anything I will say that I appreciated that the mystery wasn’t left open-ended, but I did feel like the ending got buttoned up rather hastily with a further severing of any emotional ties to the main character. I will happily pick up anything Ritter creates in the future, but this wasn’t my favorite.
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  • Shayna
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance reader's copy of this book after attending Krysten's panel at BookCon on Sunday. I immediately started reading it on the bus ride back to DC. I finished it last night... just over a day to read it! That should tell you how sucked in I got by this story.I am an avid reader of mystery/suspense/thriller novels so I was so excited months ago when I found out one of my favorite actresses was writing a book in that genre. It didn't disappoint. I will say that after finishing, I h I received an advance reader's copy of this book after attending Krysten's panel at BookCon on Sunday. I immediately started reading it on the bus ride back to DC. I finished it last night... just over a day to read it! That should tell you how sucked in I got by this story.I am an avid reader of mystery/suspense/thriller novels so I was so excited months ago when I found out one of my favorite actresses was writing a book in that genre. It didn't disappoint. I will say that after finishing, I had to lay down and really think about the pieces and how they came together. There are two questions nagging at me that were not answered in the book. But, this was written from the protagonist's viewpoint... and she was reliving memories from 10 years ago as well as being drunk and working under lack of sleep. She didn't find answers to everything, so I suppose it's purposeful that the reader didn't either. I do question how one plot point fit into the timeline but I am not sure if it's just my mind not grasping something or if I'm just overthinking it or what.This was an enjoyable debut novel from Ritter, and I think she has a real knack for this genre. Looking forward to seeing more works from her in the future!
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  • Elaine -
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't expecting to love this book so much! Bonfire is an unstoppable suspense novel that I had a hard time putting down. Don't get me wrong, I love Kristin Ritter! I've loved her since she was on Veronica Mars and then Breaking Bad, The B From Apartment 23, and Jessica Jones. I love her Instagram account and that she knits. She's so relatable and talented it seemed like she couldn't possibly also be an amazing author. I was wrong. She is also an amazing author!Abby Williams has returned to he I wasn't expecting to love this book so much! Bonfire is an unstoppable suspense novel that I had a hard time putting down. Don't get me wrong, I love Kristin Ritter! I've loved her since she was on Veronica Mars and then Breaking Bad, The B From Apartment 23, and Jessica Jones. I love her Instagram account and that she knits. She's so relatable and talented it seemed like she couldn't possibly also be an amazing author. I was wrong. She is also an amazing author!Abby Williams has returned to her hometown as a lawyer for an environmental agency to figure out why kids are getting sick and if she's correct have been getting sick for years. Growing up in Barrens wasn't easy for Abby and she's not thrilled to be back. She is haunted by memories of being the odd one out and bullied. She lost her mother at a young age and was tormented by her classmates.One classmate in particular was more brutal than the rest. Kaycee Mitchell began as Abby's only friend and then made it her mission to ruin Abby's life. "She was easy to believe in the role of politician, convincing and quick-witted, a talented liar; I'm not even sure Kaycee knew when she was telling the truth and when she wasn't."Kaycee became sick and soon other girls were also blacking out, having seizures and wasting away. But, then the girls all abruptly said they made it up. It was a game for them and that they had been lying to everyone. Abby has a hard time believing that Kaycee wasn't ill and sets out to prove that she was the first person in a long line to get sick from Optimal polluting the water. Abby has her work cut out to make a town that Optimal literally owns believe they are being poisened by the company that feeds them. "But I believed them. And there's a part of me that never stopped believing the sickness was real -- that found myself again and again tugged to questions of environment and conservation, that brought the initial complaint to the agency's attention, cleaving to it with the small but painful, nagging intensity of a hangnail."Abby is drug back into small town life, but this time she is the one asking questions. She is no longer the girl with her head down avoiding everyone. She has become the center of attention and the person to question them. She is a bit shocked when she's accepted into the fold. Soon she's being invited to football games and bonfires. She has the attention of Brent, the ex-boyfriend of Kaycee Mitchell and a boy who would have never looked her way in high school. "Distantly, I hear the shrieks of laughter and the distant thud of music. I know that sound. Someone is having a bonfire. Memories are like fire, and need only a little oxygen to grow. I remember now how I used to see the far-off light of bonfires from just a little farther than my back porch."Quickly everything begins to spiral out of control. I couldn't read fast enough to get through the last few chapters! Bonfire is a thrilling, page-turner that had me guessing who was good and who was evil right up to the last pages. I highly recommend Bonfire and can't wait to read what Kristen writes next.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    My thoughts on this book are not swayed by the fact that this book is written by an actor. In fact, I hold the same standards to celebrity authors as I do other authors. Having said this, I thought that Ms. Ritter did a good job of writing this book. I liked the concept for the story. There was something ominous about what was happening to people in town as well as what happened to Kaycee. Yet, I felt like the story needed a bigger punch. Being a fan of Jessica Jones, I was hoping and wanting th My thoughts on this book are not swayed by the fact that this book is written by an actor. In fact, I hold the same standards to celebrity authors as I do other authors. Having said this, I thought that Ms. Ritter did a good job of writing this book. I liked the concept for the story. There was something ominous about what was happening to people in town as well as what happened to Kaycee. Yet, I felt like the story needed a bigger punch. Being a fan of Jessica Jones, I was hoping and wanting this book to be as dark and gritty as the television show that Ms. Ritter stars in. This same thing goes for Abby. She seemed to act like she was still in highschool where she was the follower and not the leader. However, I did get glimpses of promise and where Ms. Ritter was going with this story. With a little more polish, I expect that the next book will be better. I look forward to seeing and reading more from Ms. Ritter.
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