Summer On Fire by Kevin Craig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lying is a slippery slope. Once you take a step and start downward, it's hard to stop yourself, regain your footing and find a way back to normalcy. This is what Zach Carson, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson must face as three friends who just want school to end and summer to begin, if only it were that easy.
Summer on Fire is a slow burn, a story that takes the time to develop character, to flesh out three very unique personalities in the trio of friends, and the secrets and lies they agree to bury in the ashes of the fire they start in the old dry Henderson barn on the edge of town. They're doing what boys do, they go off and explore, they find somewhere to go and hide, and "hang out."
I liked how the families interacted with one another, surprising me time and again with humor and wit, laughter and tears, and a whole lot of Ms. Halverton, self-proclaimed town eccentric. When the town realizes the barn is burned down, another apparent crime is uncovered. A dead body is found. Suddenly, the looming consequence is too big for the three boys, so they make a pact not to tell, and this secret tests the boundaries of all of their friendships.
SUMMER ON FIRE touches on friendship, loyalty, lying and honesty, owning up to personal responsibility, facing your problems/fears instead of running from them, and not giving up on the seemingly hopeless cause.
I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars, and that was before I learned it was a product of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo (held every November). SUMMER ON FIRE reminds me of a more innocent (and not so innocent) time when life seemed simpler and less complicated, and boys were boys. It smacks of Stand By Me and The Outsiders. You'll be glad you read this book. I highly recommend it!
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