A well-written, serpentine, breezy thriller centered on themes of belonging, abandonment, and the emotional struggle of...


The Fireproof Girl

An adventuresome tale of two co-dependent foster kids, one of whom becomes unraveled when the other is found murdered.

Popular serial novelist Lost’s (Clarity, 2014, etc.) story of allegiance and betrayal follows Scarlett and Cole Hunter, who both managed to endure a string of disastrous foster-home experiences and establish an inseparable, heartfelt connection. Scarlett has had a protective bond with Cole since she was 13, but recently, now that he has become a reputable, innovative architect, he has inexplicably disappeared. When Scarlett’s meddlesome war-veteran boyfriend, Zack, reveals proof that Cole has been murdered, she dismisses his desperate marriage proposal to embark on a mission to discover why her beloved Cole was gunned down. Motivated by her love for her friend and the rich history they shared, Scarlett (using “Sophie” as a fake name) believes she can solve the riddle of his violent murder. Flashback chapters effectively grouped throughout the novel depict the two’s youth. Cole’s parents died in a house fire when he was young, and his adolescence included a succession of abusive foster homes. Throughout it all, he cultivated a dream of becoming an entrepreneurial architect. He’d met Scarlett when they were foster children together under the roof of an abusive, child-molesting tyrant, each promising the other they would get out alive. Their abuser now has become a high-profile senator and quite possibly Cole’s vengeful murderer, so Scarlett must use all of her technological acumen as a covert “cryptanalyst” (developed after years of designing security-system software for Cole’s business) to break into his personal accounts for clues. The story is succinct and swiftly paced, loaded with colorful characters; the makeup of one looked “like it came directly from an Instagram tutorial.” Readers will vicariously enjoy this thrill ride as Scarlett edges closer to the truth and the danger mounts. Scarlett’s true identity and a final, somewhat far-fetched twist will both surprise and bewilder and leave just enough room for a sequel.

A well-written, serpentine, breezy thriller centered on themes of belonging, abandonment, and the emotional struggle of parentless children.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5393-5286-0

Page Count: 360

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Another success for the publishing phenom.


An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?