A girl with a penchant for starting fires is sent to live with her estranged father, but she can’t break her dangerous habit—and now someone’s watching her.
Jenny Breland moves from suburban Ohio to an under-construction motel in New Mexico, where her father works. She’s there to start a new life—there’s an arson investigation back home that she needs to be far away from. Visions of fire haunt her, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to stop setting things ablaze; the scar on her arm begs for release, so she finds matches and takes to the trees. Jenny makes friends quickly, including Ro, a scrappy girl who hangs around the motel, and Ben, a handsome boy she’s drawn to. But as she attempts to acclimate to her new life, violence flares around her. People she knows are found murdered, and Jenny’s certain she’s being watched. She must figure out who knows her secret and what they want with her before it’s too late. Though tension steadily climbs, the perpetrator can be spotted early on. For all of Jenny’s wiles, it’s difficult to understand why she doesn’t figure it out sooner. The true satisfaction comes in learning the full story of Jenny’s past and in understanding both her and the villain’s twisty inner workings. Major characters are assumed white.
Often heady and helmed by a complicated protagonist but frustratingly lacking in mystery. (Fiction. 14-18)