Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Simon & Schuster, 393 Pages
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Wildefire #1
Every flame begins with a spark.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her.
But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own.
With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time…
And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
A Polynesian Jewish girl? Yes please.
I loved just about everything about this book. It had everything I was wanting. Witty and hilarious main character? Uh huh. Interesting plot? Mmhmm. Mythology? Yep.
I think one of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was the diversity of all of the characters. The group dynamic was spot on. Each character was unique and brought something different to the table. Some people might think that there are “too many” backgrounds, but I couldn’t disagree more! I thought that was what made it interesting and for me, drove home the idea that all religions and types of people can and do co-exist. Plus, I think this gave every reader out there a character that they could identify with.
I especially liked the flashbacks to explain everyone’s background (what happened to them before they came to Blackwood Academy). I don’t usually like it when POVs hop around but this was a great way to explain where they came from (and foreshadow what god/goddess they were) without getting mushy or unrealistic (because honestly, what teenager is like “yes, I don’t know you but I’m going to tell you about my awful past.” Answer? None.)
Of course I can’t review this book without talking about Eve. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she just playing devil’s advocate? Eve is Ash’s sister but what does “sisterly love” mean? As an only child, this is hard for me to understand, but I’d like to think it’s similar to how I feel about my best friends! Eve was tricky and though I didn’t quite understand her, for the majority of the book I did feel sorry for her. Also, can I just say..that tennis match scene was one of the best scenes I’ve read in a while. I was loving it.
Ultimately for me, Wildefire was about a teenage girl believing in herself and finding out what she was made of and who she was. And I loved it.