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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
Hannah is looking forward to college and to pursuing a career in criminal justice like her father, the sheriff. But when she and her friends accidentally start a forest fire during a day trip to a California mountain lake near their home, suddenly she needs to use her knowledge of the legal system not to solve a crime but to get away with one.
Hannah wasn’t the first to lie (that was Violet) but Hannah is the one who badgers the other four to keep the lies going. She knows her father. He didn’t balk at putting her mom in prison for the drunk driving accident that killed a person. Hannah and her friends have killed 3–and counting. Starting a forest fire, even accidentally, can be a felony with almost a decade of prison time. Her dad can never find out that the five of them were anywhere near the fire’s origin. But as homes are destroyed, more people die, and evidence starts to surface, lies might not be enough to keep them out of jail or save their lifelong friendship. Especially if someone breaks the pact and tells the truth…
This novel is divided into two halves, the first a disaster story, the second a straightforward thriller. The theme of loyalty vs. honesty unites both parts of the novel, but the thematic threads really serve the fast-paced plot which is the main drive, appeal, and strength of the novel. Pick this one up for a teen who loves heart-pounding thrillers with well-intentioned characters making abysmal choices.