Two teenage volunteer firefighters seek to find their own meanings of love and family, all while battling a rogue arsonist.
After ending up in the foster-care system, Amanda Jamison has finally found a good home with the Becketts. They’re kind and feed her well, although they have a lot of rules—including a strict “no boys” mandate. Mr. Beckett insists she join the volunteer firefighters, and there she meets gawky, bookish Reece Logan. Reece is a legacy in the company; his father is a chief, and his brother was a revered cadet. When his brother died, though, relations all but froze between him and his father. When he joins the squad, the tension reaches a fever pitch, although all the other cadets—especially Amanda—help him acclimate. As the cadets forge their own bonds, the entire firehouse is threatened when an arsonist begins to set their town ablaze, putting Reece and Amanda in imminent danger. The drama runs high, with tenuous threads—from ill-fated romance to familial drama to a nearly transparent mystery—that never quite seem to weave together into a cohesive story. The characters' emotions often feel contrived and rushed; Reece and Amanda fall instantly in love, declaring their affections before they ever go on a proper date. The highly inflated action and syrupy characters together create a heavily stilted, mawkish, and often highly unbelievable read.
A melodramatic potboiler. (Fiction. 13-17)