I was so excited to read this debut book by Krysten Ritter (who doesn’t love her?) and Bonfire did not disappoint!
Abby Williams, a successful environmental lawyer in her late 20s living in Chicago, returns to her small home town of Barrens, Indiana to work on a case (and mystery) that’s plagued the town for years.
Abby and her colleagues are investigating Optimal Plastics after recent reports of health issues around town and a decade long suspicion of corruption. Abby’s return to town brings up problems and memories she’d like to forget, like her relationship with her ailing father, her mother’s death, and the mean girls from high school- oh and that boy she kissed once and always wondered about.
As Abby is immersed back into Barrens, the past haunts her. She can’t let go of the strange disappearance of her artistic, mean-girl friend Kaycee and the mysterious clues she left for Abby.
“You know the problem, Abby, isn’t that you can’t draw, she said, out of nowhere. It’s that you can’t see”
If the book feels familiar to you, that’s because it is. The main character Abby is so much like Krysten Ritter’s characters on TV you feel like you already know her, and the book cadence follows a very typical suspense formula. The story itself is nothing all that new, it’s a little Mean Girls wrapped in Erin Brockovich with Heathers on the side. All that said, I loved the book. The writing is good, it had a lot of little stories woven together, clues that kept you guessing and a surprise ending. Abby is extremely relatable and easy to root for. Reading Bonfire feels like you’re back at that high school bonfire party in the woods wondering who (or where) your real friends are.
Best paired with old hometown friends, red wine, and lasagna.