Read Bonfire by Krysten Ritter Online


Should you ever go back?It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly creShould you ever go back?It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?...

Title : Bonfire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781786331021
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bonfire Reviews

  • Emily May
    2019-05-20 05:14

    Going into this book, I had no idea who Krysten Ritter was. It was only when I went to the Goodreads page just now that I realized she's an actress. So I had approached this as I would any hyped thriller with an enticingly fiery cover. Unfortunately, though, I found Bonfire to have a recycled plot that lacked a certain juicy nastiness I like in my thrillers.And isn't this a story we've seen a thousand times? Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I've read countless versions of a woman escaping her smalltown life, only to grow up and become a detective or lawyer or whatever and return to solve a mystery and face all the people and unresolved issues of her past. I even think I've read a bunch of romance variations on this plot, too. It reminds me a little of Sharp Objects, but Ritter is no Gillian Flynn. I felt like Ritter was trying to capture the "evil teen girls" vibe that so many authors want to tap into. The protagonist - Abby Williams - has a lot of personal demons and they're mostly related to the bullying she endured during her schooldays. Though I think this intense world of teenage girldom has been explored much better by other authors, from Megan Abbott to Abigail Haas.Bonfire sees Abby, now an environmental lawyer, returning to her hometown and hoping to uncover the truth about Optimal, a plastics corporation. Abby believes Optimal has been polluting the town's water supply and caused a string of unexplained illnesses among her classmates years ago. One of whom disappeared. The classmates in question claimed it was a harmless prank, but Abby's convinced otherwise.I completely appreciate the importance of environmental pollution issues but I've got to say-- it's a bit of a hard sell as a compelling thriller. I only recall Paolo Bacigalupi doing it successfully. There was just never a moment when the book took hold of me and made me desperate to know the answers.It was also just very unconvincing overall. I couldn't understand why Abby was so adamant that the pollution took place when even those who got sick claimed it wasn't true. It's not a spoiler to state the obvious - there is something more going on, but I don't know why Abby would think that. And Bonfire relies heavily on Abby conveniently remembering, forgetting, or deducing (quite incredibly) as needed. Abby makes many tenuous connections between some clue - that fell into her lap - and the truth, whilst jumping to conclusions that I doubt anyone would have made.Also thought it was strange how Abby quickly developed TWO romantic relationships with the men of Barrens, but it didn't have any impact on the story whatsoever. There is a moment at the climax of the novel which is easily the most thrilling of the whole book, and it was my favourite part, but the culprit will come as a surprise to few. They were so obviously shady that I had almost convinced myself they were a glaring red herring. The climax leads into an extremely rushed ending-- we discover the villain, witness a face-off, and wrap it all up in the last fifteen pages of the book. Messy and disappointing.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  • Larry H
    2019-05-16 05:11

    Krysten Ritter rocks. Not only is she a total badass on Jessica Jones, and she rocked my world (and made me laugh out loud constantly) on her old television series Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 (still bitter it was canceled), but now her debut novel, Bonfire, is a really good read. I hate overachievers...Abby Williams couldn't get out of her Indiana hometown, Barrens, fast enough. Tormented by her childhood best friend Kaycee and her band of mean-girl minions, mistreated by her father, she fled the first chance she got, changed her accident and landed a job as an environmental lawyer in Chicago."I couldn't even explain it to myself. All I knew is that Barrens broke something inside of me. It warped the needles on my compass and turned the south to north and lies to truth and vice versa."Ten years later, Abby's firm is investigating Optimal Plastics, the most high-profile company in Barrens, and the one that single-handedly rescued the town from all but certain elimination. The thought of going home again and facing her nemeses, including her father, is almost too much to bear, but she'll admit that the opportunity to enact a little revenge isn't totally unappealing. But it's not too long after she arrives back in Barrens that she realizes that the more things change the more they stay the same—or people want to pretend things have changed, even when they haven't.As Abby and her colleagues try to make sense of whether Optimal is truly the town's savior or more of a danger, she finds herself unable to shake her memories of a scandal that Kaycee and her three friends were involved in all those years ago, a scandal which could possibly have ties to the problems with Optimal occurring today. She's desperate to find out what really happened to Kaycee, who allegedly disappeared all those years ago, and she is trying to decide whom she should trust—if anyone.To uncover the truth, Abby must reopen doors that people want to remain closed, and that includes coming to terms with her father as well. She finds a web of blackmail, corruption, trading sexual favors, and lie upon lie. Her job and her mental state, perhaps even her life, are at stake.I'm always a little bit dubious when a celebrity writes a novel. Sure, there are talented writers among them, but for every Carrie Fisher and Ethan Hawke comes a James Franco or Joan Collins. Ritter has a natural voice as a storyteller, and the book quickly hooks you and doesn't let you go, even as you may see how things will play themselves out. She is particularly impressive with her imagery as well as her descriptions of emotions, and what it's like to return home to a place where you never felt comfortable anyway.It's not a perfect debut—she falls into the trap that so many action and crime movies do, where the villain gives a long, dramatic speech justifying why they were so hell-bent on destroying everything. (See Michael Shannon in Man of Steel for one.) But while that is a little annoying, I found Bonfire a really compelling read, one I devoured pretty quickly and enjoyed quite a bit. I'll definitely be looking out for Ritter's next book at some point.Okay, how about a Don't Trust the... reunion?NetGalley and Crown Publishing provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  • Meredith
    2019-05-26 12:11

    Solid 3.5 stars Bonfire is an addictive mystery about corporate greed and small town scandals.After 10 years of living in anonymity in Chicago, environmental lawyer Abby Williams returns to her tiny hometown Barrens, Indiana to investigate Optimal Plastics, a corporation that not only fuels the town’s economy, but also saturates Barrens with its philanthropic efforts. Residents of Barrens are getting sick, and Abby believes their illnesses are a result of water contamination caused by Optimal. Abby, who was tormented and bullied throughout high school is desperate to uncover the dirt on Optimal, as she believes the corporation is not only harming the residents of Barrens, but also led to the illness of childhood best friend and high school frenemy, Kaycee Mitchell.Flashback 10 years ago: Kaycee Mitchell was the “It” girl at Barrens High School. She and her group of minions created “The Game,” which worked to torment and bully their peers. Kaycee and her minions made Abby’s life a living hell. When Kaycee begins getting sick, her illness "spreads" to her group of friends. Once Kaycee's friends admit their illness was a hoax, she goes missing never to be seen agian. Upon her return to Barrens, Abby must confront her teenage enemies, her high school crush, and her abusive father. Fueled by her obsession with Optimal and Kaycee, her behavior spirals out of control putting her in imminent danger.Bonfire is a compulsive read that hooked me from the start. I loved the dark, snarky tone and felt like Ritter did a stellar job of fleshing out the town of Barrens. Abby is a strong, yet unreliable narrator. In the back of my head, I kept picturing her as Jessica Jones without superpowers! The mystery surrounding Kaycee drew me in. My only complaint is that the last ¾ unravels and becomes a bit convoluted. Overall, this is an impressive debut by Krysten Ritter! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Adam Silvera
    2019-05-06 12:49

    Yes, Krysten Ritter is the star of Netflix's JESSICA JONES, but this thriller is damn good independent of its celebrity author. It's addicting and gritty and fast-paced. Hope you get obsessed too!

  • Paromjit
    2019-05-06 08:01

    This is an atmosphere drenched and compelling crime debut from Krysten Ritter set in Barrens, a small town in Indiana. As children, Abby Williams and Kaycee Mitchell were best friends, only for Kaycee to turn on Abby with her coterie of friends at school. Hating her father and her miserable life, Abby is the one that got away. She lives in Chicago and is a environmental lawyer, returning to Barrens after a decade away, to investigate Optimal Plastics, a corporation that singlehandedly saved Barrens from economic and social devastation. It funds a number of social enterprises, provides scholarships and employment, and is at the heart of the community, with the majority of the town fiercely loyal to the company. Optimal is, however, dogged by rumours of corruption, contaminating the water supply and more. Abby may have moved away from Barrens, but Barrens and its secrets have never left her. This time she wants answers to the past, only to find that the past looms large in the present.Abby arrives in Barren with a group that includes her best friend, Joe, a black gay lawyer, setting up office on the Gallagher farm. They find a community hostile to their presence and the threat they represent. Two complainants drop their claims, but they continue to probe. Abby finds herself confronted by ghosts from the past, from the meanest girl, Mischa, who is now Vice Principal at Barren High School to her father who is a shadow of his former self. Haunted by Kaycee, a talented painter, telling her that problem is not that she cannot draw but that she does not see, Abby is convinced there is a connection with Kaycee and their current investigation into Optimal. Kaycee was popular, a born liar, poisoned Abby's dog, involved in the deplorable Game and blackmail, and apparently pretended to be sick with her friends to scam payments from Optimal and left Barrens soon after. However, Abby had seen Kaycee coughing up blood and displaying other worrying symptoms, and knows Kaycee was sick. Abby strikes up a relationship with Condor and Brent, and finds her drinking is spiralling out of control, all too aware that she is drawn to things that hurt the most. As all those close to her abandon her, questioning her conviction that the past and Kaycee is relevant and connected to Optimal, Abby finds her sanity is on the line as the past threatens to bury her.Krysten Ritter has written a gripping and beautifully written crime debut. It is tense and suspenseful, drawing in the reader with ease. The greatest strengths of the book lie in the complex character creation and development of Abby, a woman who wants to come to terms with the past so that she can be alive in the present. Ritter presents a picture of a woman paying a heavy price as she gets closer to the truth, no-one believes her, yet despite her life disintegrating around her, she clings on with a tenuous grip with determination. She wants to do right by her childhood friend, Kaycee, even though Kaycee is a less than admirable character. The portrayal of Barren and its community is done remarkably well. I loved this brilliant book and whilst it does have its flaws, I recommend it highly. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.

  • Maxwell
    2019-05-23 05:05

    This was a really strong debut and one of the better mystery/thrillers I've read in a while. Of course it had it's issues, though they were small and mostly due to editing in my opinion (the infamous "I released a breath I didn't realize I was holding" was used 3 times in the first half of the book...). Otherwise I found the characters to be strong, especially Abby our MC who is returning home to confront her past and a possibly corrupt corporation who is funding much of the small town she's from. The blending of past and present was seamless and really added a depth to the story that gave her justification for her actions and explanation for everything going on. It didn't feel forced or convenient like a lot of thrillers do. I'll be looking forward to what Ritter writes next! This one's definitely worth checking out.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-05-19 09:12

    3.5 Back home to Indiana, is the last place Abby wants to go, a place where she was bullied daily. Now an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she is a confident, more centered person. When a case in her old hometown sends her and her team back to investigate a company that seems to have the town in it's pockets, she is sure she can handle it. But can she?Two different ratings for each half of the book. Very encouraging start, well written, seemed to have more substance than some other books in this genre. Nice mix of personal remembrances, traumas, with some interesting legwork on the investigation. Of course, all her ghosts come back to haunt her, unfinished business, old acquaintances who were not friends but now seem to want to be, and a mystery, a girl who had supposedly left town, a girl who had once been her friend. This part of the story garnered a four.Then the second part of the story, was disappointed, not in the resolution of the plot, but in the way the main character her acted. Descended into a bad melodrama so different from the controlled writing and personality exhibited in the first half. Found it jarring and not totally believable, too, too much happened, thought it was unrealistic. So the second half I would rate a three. Hence my 3.5 rating.So for me this was an unbalanced read. Was interesting, good, a little different but could have been better without the exploding second half. IMOARC from Netgalley.

  • Carol (Bookaria)
    2019-05-13 06:58

    This book exceeded my expectations! I've known the author Krysten Ritter from her work in the TV series Breaking Bad and Jessica Jones. So when I learned she had written a book I felt a little skeptical at first, but I am glad I put those thoughts aside and jumped into this novel.Abby Williams is an environmental lawyer that returns to her childhood town to investigate the area's most important company: Optimal Plastics. There have been claims in the past of wrong-doing by that business and Abby is determined to find out if these claims are true.During her stay, Abby is also interested in finding out if the disappearance of Kaycee Mitchell 10 years ago is related toOptimal Plastics or related to darker secrets long buried.In her search for evidence, Abby must face the people and memories she left behind. The story is told from the point of view of the main character and is set in the small town of Barrens, Indiana. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to readers of mysteries, thrillers, and contemporary fiction.

  • Brenda
    2019-05-15 07:02

    I was lost in the weedy and woody murky coulee with two of my Traveling Sisters as we read Bonfire. We started off intrigued by this story but soon became weighted down with a little too much drama and the dirty not-so-little secrets to this story. We became mentally exhausted and annoyed from it all and we just wanted to close our books and find a nice grassy spot to have a nap. However, our main character Abby was quite loud in our heads with the wild and annoying ways that she spun us down to some murky and lonesome places along with her from our peaceful coulee. Even though this one didn’t quite work for some of us, it did take a turn that did catch my attention and had me raising my head from the murk and weeds and turning the pages to find out how it ended. I ended up in a spot in the coulee satisfied with this story. Traveling Sisters Review also can be found on our sister blog:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  • Katie
    2019-04-26 12:18

    Such a fun debut novel! This premise of "the girl returning to her disturbing home town" has been done before, but I still found this incredibly unique. Review is up on my channel! Video review:

  • Julie
    2019-04-30 13:12

    Bonfire by Krysten Ritter is a 2017 Crown Archetype publication. A heavily atmospheric and absorbing crime story-When environmental lawyer, Abby Williams returns to her hometown in Indiana to investigate illnesses which could be connected to the town’s life force and largest employer, Optimal Plastics, she immediately, regrets coming back. She soon learns her estranged father is quite ill, and she is flooded with childhood memories of her best friend, a girl named Kaycee, who may or may not have been exhibiting signs of illness, who has simply vanished into thin air, leaving Abby haunted and hollow, even after all these years. She also experiences a strong wall of resistance from the town’s residents, who are afraid she will uncover something about Optimal that will affect their livelihoods. But, Abby is determined to learn the truth behind Kaycee’s disappearance, and the possible cover up by Optimal, as well as a connection between a scholarship program the plant offers, catering to female applicants only. Yet the deeper Abby digs, the more convinced she is that something very sinister is going on, but her work is heavily compromised by the spike in her alcohol consumption and her erratic behavior, which could get her kicked off the case. Bonfire is a dark, moody, edgy novel of suspense, very engrossing, and convincing. The atmosphere is very heavy and thick, the foreboding palpable. A town willing to do almost anything, including sweeping evidence of scandal under the carpet, to save Optimal Plastic, sets up a tense and ugly tug of war for Abby, who is also being courted by a crowd of people that shunned her back in high school, while also receiving a few veiled threats.Abby quickly becomes obsessed with Kaycee, believing she holds the key to unlocking the secrets the town is so desperate to protect. Abby’s narration is what makes the story work, in my opinion. She’s cynical, yet harbors the scars of high school cruelty, which makes her susceptible to certain unrealized yearning that affects her decision making skills. Although fragile emotionally, Abby is tenacious in her single minded pursuit. The story has a taut sense of urgency, which propels the reader forward, unable to look away as Abby’s well -orchestrated professional life begins to circle the drain, along with her sanity. Ritter did a fine job creating sympathetic characters, with a slow, but enticing plot, that reveals small town cover-ups and scandals wrapped around a timely subject, shining a spotlight on corporate power and greed, which really resonated with me. I got sucked into this story right away, finding it very hard a put down. I am not a television fan, but my husband and I binged watched, ‘Breaking Bad’ a while back and loved it. But, I still did not connect Ritter to her acting credentials until I started writing this review. Wow. I have to say I am impressed with this debut novel! This is a very solid crime novel and I hope it is not just a one off for the author. She has potential here and I hope she will capitalize on it fully. 4 stars

  • Tan Markovic
    2019-05-16 07:01

    I was sooo excited when I found out Krysten Ritter was releasing a debut novel especially in one of my favourite genres. I am obsessed with her as Jessica Jones and loved the role she played in Breaking Bad.Shit, I loved this book. Ritter created such a dark, eerie atmosphere throughout, the plot is very fast paced and the characters from her new and past life are introduced thick and fast. I’m sucker for this type of format ever since I read Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects – girl leaves town that fucked her up, girl becomes successful detective (or in this case lawyer), girl returns to town full of crime and secrets that need solving. It was so easy to work out who the bad guys were early on which was a bit of a shame, however it didn’t affect the story for me all that much, it was still very engaging and I enjoyed the story a great deal.The only real annoyance I had with this novel was the fact there was a few speculations thrown out throughout, obviously to catch us out whilst reading, however, there were a fair few left unexplained and not blended into the story and it felt a bit obvious that red herrings were just being thrown whenever. It also a shame we never got much of Abby’s life in Chicago – and how did she end up getting there?Definitely recommend this to anyone who loves thrillers/mystery and I can’t wait for Ritter’s future novels!Reviews can also be found at:

  • Joce (squibblesreads)
    2019-05-03 13:06

    3.75 stars: I was pleasantly surprised by this! Thrillers can too often present overused tropes and plot turns based on convenience, not to mention sensationalizing mental illness and misogyny but thankfully there was none of that here (of course, there should be no bonus/gratuitous lauding or applauding things for not being misogynistic) . I enjoyed the focus on environment and law while also exploring the complicated relationships one can have in high school and toxic masculinity. I wasn’t 100% sold on the presentation of the concepts and characters all of the time but I thought it was strong and otherwise unharmful.

  • Simon
    2019-05-18 05:09

    What a brilliant thriller. I devoured this in two sittings. I was slightly dubious/cynical about a celebrity writing a book, well shame on me as this had me hooked. It’s a mix of Erin Brockovich, meets Mean Girls meets dark twisty mystery which enthralled me throughout as lawyer Abigail goes back to home after a decade to take on a huge corporation possibly poisoning her hometown where some demons from the past lie in wait too. Utterly gripping.

  • Book of Secrets ☘
    2019-05-13 05:49

    4.25 Stars → I was impressed with Krysten Ritter's debut novel. I'm kind of out of touch with TV & movies, so I didn't realize the author was an actor until finishing. I quickly grabbed this title when I saw it was suspense and didn't pay much attention to the blurb. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Abby Williams is an environmental lawyer who's returned to her tiny hometown to investigate possible contamination by a plastics company with a whole lot of influence in Barrens, Indiana. Abby hasn't been home in ten years, not since her friend-turned-bully disappeared just after graduation. Barrens is full of bad memories for Abby, but her relationship with the town and people in it is unresolved, which is why this troubling pollution case is important to her.I liked the author's writing style and her ability to hook me with her flawed and not-so-likable characters. The overall atmosphere of the book is dark and foreboding, perfect for this gripping mystery/suspense. Looking forward to more from Krysten Ritter.Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dannii Elle
    2019-05-05 09:56

    Probably one of the best celebrity-penned novels I have read. I wasn't sure what to expect, from just the synopsis, which suggested mystery thriller, political, and possibly also science fiction elements. And this feeling, of being on unsure footing with this book, continued to dog my entire reading of it. In the best possible way, this is a novel that has so many layers to it that it became impossible to categorise it as solely ever about one thing.On one level, this is an insight into small town life, and the prejudice and misogyny still prevalent there, passed down among the generations like family recipes and antique heirlooms. This is also a chronicle of just one life, that of our protagonist, Abby Williams, and her experiences growing up, leaving, and then returning to her childhood town. This is, too, a novel about family relationships, of both the best and the worst kind. The nature vs. nurture discussion can be used to navigate these characters action, as can the influence of a small town upbringing against that in a larger city, where much of what we do remains anonymous. There is a thrilling element to this book, that uses flashbacks alongside current events to reveal the mystery dogging the narrative. Also a political edge narrows the focus to mega corporations and the dirt their money can hide, so long as they know just where to flash it.Every element combined to make this a truly unforgettable story, if not a perfectly unique one. It made this a compelling one-sitting read and Ritter an individual I want to read more from.

  • JanB
    2019-05-12 10:57

    Abby, a small town girl who left for the big city after high school, returns 10 years later as an environmental lawyer to investigate a plastics company suspected of polluting the town's waters. While there, Abby must face demons from her past: an estranged father, mean girls, bullying, and the long-ago disappearance of a friend turned mean-girl.The evil corporation story line failed to keep my interest and I had to force myself to not skim.  The teen 'mean girls' story line is a particular dislike of mine so that probably colored my impression of the book too.  Abby, the main character, is unlikable and unsympathetic, so there was nothing left that I cared about. There was a twist at the end but it was too little/too late for me, and it was in a direction I wish the author had not gone. I realize this is a debut and I admire the author for stepping out of the acting role and writing a book. I do hope she continues to write and I would be interested to see what she writes next. With a few tweaks this could have been a much better book. The story suffered from tackling too many plot lines and could have benefitted from narrowing the focus and delving deeper into one or two. I read this with the traveling sisters, Brenda and Nikki. It's always fun to read with the sisters and we have interesting discussions even when we go off on a tangent :-) Unfortunately we were underwhelmed this time. We neither hated nor loved it. This review and others can be found on their blog:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  • bran (brandonthebookaddict)
    2019-05-05 11:56

    Your problem, Abby, isn't that you can't draw. It's that you can't see.I was a bit hesitant when I first head about this book: a celebrity writing a suspense thriller? What could possibly go wrong?Well, let me tell you: so many damn things. But, but,Bonfire, surprisingly, was actually good. Wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. We have the recycled trope of the main character, who is an environmentalist lawyer, going back to her hometown and diving deep in the secrets of the past while solving or working on the case in that same town. This particular trope can be overly used and kind of repetitive, and while it was interesting to see some of the environmental issues and political aspects this book brought up, it was hardly compelling or even engaging enough to capture my full attention. Especially for a 'thriller'. I wouldn't even call it that tbh. More like a very, very slow mystery. That's it. The first 120 pages doesn't even delve deep into the mystery, but more about the central characters. The development and actual writing here was what made me plow through though. Krysten's knack for writing was really interesting but nothing too special. I called the twist/whodunit before I think it was even introduced to us and the choices the MC made literally drove me fucking crazy I was so annoyed. The last 10 pages however, changed the fucking game and I was legit all in. But literally, it ended on such a big ass rush, that by the time everything wrapped up, I thought it was way too messy and abrupt and just wish there was something more on the ending. But I'll still be on the lookout for Krysten Ritter's future work; I'm excited to see where she takes us next (Jessica Jones badass smirk insert here). A well rounded and 'good' debut for Ms. Jones ;).3 SOLID STARS.Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |

  • Mandy
    2019-05-17 05:13

    This is the story of Abby, who grew up in a town called Barrens, but ten years have gond by since she last was there. She returns to her home town as part of a small investigative team looking into a company called Optimal, which is the company that has made big investments into the community and is suspected of polluting the town's water supply.The whole book is told from Abby's point of view, so the reader is in Abby's head the whole time. She is a rather unreliable narrator, and struggles when she goes home and meets the people that she grew up with, and her father, who could be abusive at times and loving at times.She reconnects with two men from her past too, but finds that each man has secrets, and Abby struggles to deal with her feelings regarding both of them. Then her father is taken ill and she has to face her feelings with regards to him.I really enjoyed this book. I liked Abby a lot, and was rooting for her throughout. I liked the writing style in the book. I thought it felt like Abby was sitting next to me, telling me her story. I did like the way in which the book ended too. I felt it was realistic yet quite hopeful. I will definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

  • ☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
    2019-05-24 09:51

    I want to thank NetGalley and Crown Publishing for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity.I also want to give a shout out to Trang from Bookidote! Trang and I buddy read this book starting at the halfway mark. 😂 She offered great insight! Trang is an awesome blogger and new friend! She is so sweet and funny! Check her blog out and show her some love!😉❤🤗Synopsis: Abby Williams is a lawyer who works with chemicals and the environment based in Chicago. Different days of the week she has different men in her bed but she feels all alone. She tries to drink away her pain often and numb her feelings out. The only person she feels she can lean on is her colleague Joe.Abby battles her demons and has faced obsessive thoughts from her past. Ten years ago as a graduating senior Abby was bullied furiously by the “it” crowd whose main star was Abby’s childhood friend, Kaycee Mitchell. When Kaycee mysteriously goes missing after claiming she was sick by the local plastic plant this has a lasting effect on Abby. Even though she hated Kaycee and her crowd in high school she felt there was something she could not shake.Abby constantly keeps bringing herself back to the past and trying to put the pieces together. Abby finally stumbles across a complaint made by someone about the plant and Abby and her team head to her home town the Barrens. She heads to the Barrens to seek justice and ends up facing more than she could think possible.Abby has to face; corruption, her abusive father, old high school bullies and new horrors in her home town. She runs into everyone from her childhood in this small town. Will Abby bring justice and be able to fight her personal demons?Review: Omg! I loved this book! Not only is written by the awesome and sexy Krysten Ritter, it was fantastic. I give this crime thriller 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. I felt like I could feel all of Abby’s emotions and a lot of the traumas that happened in this book I could relate to. At moments it was hard for me to turn the page because of the intensity, but it kept me pulling me back in. I really enjoyed this book and was satisfied I requested it through NetGalley. My only issue, which really wasn’t an issue was the very end I didn’t know if they were leaving it open or that’s how she wanted to finish things. This book showed the reality of how bullying effects people and the horror. This was a terrific crime thriller. I highly recommend this book!

  • Portia Lynn (itsportiasbooks)
    2019-05-15 12:49

    GUYS. KRYSTEN RITTER WROTE A BOOK. Memories are like fire, and need only a little oxygen to grow.I have been a huge fan of hers since Veronica Mars days. I will watch anything she is in. So when I found out she was crossing into my favorite world, the book world, I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. I rushed to see if it was available on Netgalley. Then worried I wouldn't get approved. BUT THEN I DID. So of course I started it immediately. Im so excited to say that it sucked me in so quickly, I had a hard time putting it down! You know what is coming now right? YES. A review full of Krysten Ritter gifs!!! YAY! First let me address any possible hesitation you may have about reading this book. You know how when a singer is so famous they get full of themselves and think they can act too? (AHEM, Mariah Carey) Or just because you can act means you can also sing? Well what if just because she is a talented actress/ producer that means she can write a book without it sucking? I have faith in her, but the question still lingered. But all of that was pretty quickly put to silence the farther into the book I got. I'm not going to recap the entire synopsis for you, because ideally you read that on your way to seeing this review. So I will just jump in. Our protagonist, Abby, has headed back home after many years for work - and by work, I obviously mean facing people and uncovering secrets from her past. Okay, so there is some actual work involved too. She is an environmental lawyer, and the only real experience I have with what they do comes from Erin Brockovich. But it felt well researched, which always makes me happy. So she goes in headstrong, in attempt to not let everyonein town turn her back into the weak person she once was. She is pretty likable, until she hits the point where she is on the verge of being an unreliable narrator - which I love! Like, is she crazy? Is she onto something? She is clearly drinking to much and this might just be spiraling out of control! Who knows?! Not her. Not me. Lol....There are quite a few aspects of evil going on here. You have the case of the missing girl from high school, the case of the plastic company infecting the town water supply, "THE GAME", and how, if at all, they tie together. Old classmates come into play, one particular boy she used to swoon over who basically runs things at the plastic company. The leftover "mean girl" who pretends to play nice, the boy that grew up to be a better man than anyone expected.... and of course, her personal troubles with her dad. Like, she has a lot of shit going on. Ritter makes it so that even the reader isn't sure who trust, and there is a tug back and forth on all the characters and your level of trust in them. Everyone is so sketchy in some way, aside from her coworkers. Her best friend and the two interns are pretty great, and maybe could've used more time on the pages. Everything doesn't start coming all together until the last like, 25% of the book. Then it's crunch time. Then shit gets crazy. I love every second of it. I love her unraveling, and then things becoming clear suddenly. The whole book just kept me glued to the pages. So the only thing about this book that may make it more of a 4.5 for me as opposed to the full 5 stars is that I kind of question how all the pieces story fit together. Like, my brain keeps second guessing whether or not they makes sense as a whole puzzle, with each piece fit into place. But maybe I need to allow them to be slightly separate entities. But I love how it ended for Abby, on a very independent note. I definitely recommend this book. I really hope it gets the audio book treatment, and that Krysten Ritter will voice it. I read it with her Jessica Jones voice in my head, I couldn't help myself. I would be happy to read this again via audio if she does that!**ARC provided via Netgalley and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review!**

  • Paul
    2019-05-12 11:55

    thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review.i requested this from Netgalley mainly from curiousity as i am a fan of Krysten Ritter's acting so wondered if she could also write.turns out she can, i was pleasantly surprised at how well this novel was written. it is a multilayered story with recurring themes of family, bullying, enviromental concerns and memory. in other words for her debut Ritter went with a go big or go home gameplan and approach. and she handled much of it with aplomb and skill. my main critique os the MC isnt very likeable and in some places it seems a little heavy handed.( the majority isnt though it has some subtlety but the heavy handed parts annoyed mw enough to take a star or so off).overall id rate this between 3 and 3.5 stars

  • Lou
    2019-05-05 08:58

    It appears that I am in the minority having not heard of Krysten Ritter before encountering this book. This may have something to do with the fact that she is American and I am British and she features on American shows that I haven't watched before. I don't mind this as this usually bodes well and means I don't have any expectations that others who know of her may have. It puts it on the same footing as the other books I choose to read - I will read anything that appeals to me regardless of whether I know the author or not. The synopsis is key in making my decision... and here it is...Should you ever go back?It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?Firstly, let me just say that with this book Ritter shows that her talents don't just lie in acting - this is as well written and structured as any mystery/suspense novel. The writing is immersive and the action both fast-paced with some slower aspects that lurk in the back of your mind until the finale. The storyline has plenty of surprises and is dark and gritty with a menacing undertone that runs the whole way through. You may, like I did, guess some of what is going on but the way it unravelled still had some shocking moments that I didn't predict.I admired the MC, Abby, a lot. She was able to eventually come to terms with her past in circumstances where it would be easier to just move on and leave it alone. Her courage and tenacity is a substantial aspect of the book for me. The more she discovers, the deeper the secrets run and this means Abby has no idea just who who or can't be trusted. This is a highly addictive read and I thoroughly enjoyed following Abby on her journey.If Ritter happens to write more novels of this genre in future I would definitely read them.I would like to thank Krysten Ritter, Random House - Cornerstone and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Blair
    2019-05-06 06:50

    I would say this is the best novel by an actor I've ever read, but I'm not actually sure I've ever read any other novels by actors. Either way, this is good stuff, not just some indulgent vanity project. Ritter's debut is a pacy legal thriller which has Abby Williams, a young lawyer, returning home to Barrens, Indiana, where she's plagued by memories of a long-lost friend and finds a powerful corporation covering up evidence of corruption. Let's say it's Gillian Flynn meets Erin Brockovich.I couldn't help picturing Abby as Jessica Jones – perhaps because that's the only role I've seen Ritter play, but there are other similarities. Abby does a lot of ill-advised drinking and has a habit of making bad decisions; she's also driven and incredibly tenacious. The Barrens of her youth was a quintessential small town where everyone knew everyone's business. Bullied at school by a clique of girls and at home by her stern, religious father, Abby was relieved to get the hell out. Ten years later, she finds Barrens dominated by Optimal, a large company which employs most of the population and seems to have a finger in every pie. The firm she works for is out to prove Optimal have been polluting the local water supply. The locals, however, are fiercely resistant.The book opens with a striking sequence in which a teenage girl collapses dramatically during mock elections. This turns out to be a scene from Abby's youth: in the last year of high school, her childhood best friend Kaycee was struck by a mystery illness which sparked a wave of hysterical copycats. Kaycee could be unspeakably cruel – she joined in the bullying, and Abby suspects she may even have killed the Williams' dog – but Abby can't shake off memories of her. Kaycee 'ran away' after leaving school and hasn't been seen since; her family and former friends seem oddly disinterested in tracking her down. Abby becomes increasingly convinced that while the other girls may have faked it, Kaycee's sickness was genuine, and Optimal were responsible – may even have killed her.Bonfire packs in a lot of character background yet is still a compelling mystery. The subplot about Abby's father's illness is poignant; Ritter even finds a way to make use of the otherwise annoying love triangle between Abby and two local guys. (I also loved the way this was concluded.) The questions of a) Kaycee's disappearance and b) whatever Optimal's doing are both as gripping as each other. All in all, I was really impressed by this clever and captivating story.I received an advance review copy of Bonfire from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • Cristina•●♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥●•
    2019-05-02 10:19

    When ... Marvel heroes, books, and real life mix; readers get a dazzling result!! 😍📚“It’s as if the rules to the past have been rewritten, and I’m still learning the game.”- Abby Williams* * * “They’re all twisting my memories, making me doubt things I always counted on as true.”- Abby Williams* * * “There are the people of the world who squeeze and the ones who suffocate.” - Abby Williams* * * “I know now that there’s a hole inside me. A hole that can’t be patched or filled with files or paperwork or legal cases or new clothes or miles or happy hours or bartenders.This was never about the water. It’s not even about Kaycee, not really.It’s about me.”- Abby Williams* * * * “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret, never to be told.” ** * * “There’s evil in this world, Abby. You remember that. You look for it. You look so it can’t look for you.”- Chestnut Williams* * *“I came back to bury the past, but instead the past is burying me.”- Abby Williams* * * “Only the present is solid. The past is smoke.”- Abby Williams* * * “The past is just a story we tell. And all stories depend on the ending”#Marvel #JessicaJones #BadassAuthor - Abby Williams

  • Marialyce
    2019-05-17 08:07

    3 starsCan we go home again, or maybe the question should be should we go home again? Abby Williams does just that, she goes home, but returns as an environmental lawyer digging into a possible case against a corporate giant company Optimal Plastics. She has been gone for ten years but remembers all the horrible things that had happened to her while growing up Barrens Indiana. She remembers the cruelty of her fellow students especially her former best friend Kaycee Williams. Kaycee had disappeared but the memories of all that had happened, the supposed feigned illnesses, the shaming of girls targeted as weak, the playing of The Game comes rushing back in foggy memories.Abby, tries to unravel the connection between what happened ten years ago and now. How is Optimal, the savior of the town involved, and how will she get people to believe her now that she dredges up one conspiracy theory after another? Compounding all of this is the extremely tenuous relationship she has with her father. Abby's world seems to be crashing as she descends further and further into wanting to believe and trying to prove that what she feels is right. The two worlds that Abby experiences come to a conclusion that in reality was ever so expected. This was at times a very confusing novel. It meandered through relationships and made sometimes tenuous connections. It seemed to that the the heroine of this tale always seemed to be in a drunken state wandering from one bar to another, drinking one drink after another. In this she lost her true voice as the main protagonist and seemed detrimental to all she was trying to convey. The author tries to make Abby a pathetic sad creature but in doing so she creates a character that is often one that dredges up little sympathy. Thanks to NetGallery and Crown Publishing for providing an advanced copy for an unbiased review.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-04-26 11:10

    This is very readable but I felt some things were set up and not fully taken advantage of except for how they advanced the central mystery of what happened to Kaycee. I do like the idea of Erin Brokovich confronting the fallout of childhood bullying, and would read the next book by this author. A few more questions in the spoiler tag:(view spoiler)[1. The narrator has a deep connection to some of the main characters but often feels too much like an outsider. If she was so involved back then why didn't she know more of the secrets? I would have been less surprised if this had uncovered some of her own trauma.2. I am not satisfied by the explanation for the connection between Optimal and Brady. Since high school? But why?3. Is there a connection to K's dad or was that a red herring?4. How did the narrator escape and find success? (hide spoiler)]Also, poetic license maybe, but there is no toll rode on I-70 in Missouri.Thanks to the publisher for approving my request for access to this title via NetGalley.

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    2019-05-03 08:04

    Find my full review on, including my experience meeting her at a book signing event! "There's evil in this world, Abby. You remember that. You look for it. You look so it can't look for you."What can't Krysten Ritter do? We certainly know her from her pivotal role in Breaking Bad and as the whiskey drinking, leather jacket wearing, bad ass from Jessica Jones. She also does much more than that and one more thing she's accomplished is writing this debut novel. There's two stories here - the environmental case is very reminiscent of Erin Brockovich but the REAL story is regarding the disappearance of Kaycee - the lead mean girl from Abby's high school. What Ritter does well here is get us to really know Abby's character. From past to present, we understand why it's difficult for her to be back in the town where the memories that she has are not great ones... yet somehow she feels a responsibility to it. You can leave the town, but the town won't leave you. This is a solid debut novel, without a doubt. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Abby and empathized with her character. Themes of bullying, environmental issues, sexual deviance... etc. etc. are portrayed and the feel of a small town where everyone seems to know your business before you do was presented clearly and coherently. Was this perfect? Definitely not. However, she pulls the entire story together towards the end and while I felt the ending was slightly underwhelming, I was happy to see where it landed. I would certainly pick up more books by Ritter.If you like the slow burn of a small town mystery with a slight twist and the characterization of a strong female protagonist who will NOT back down, then you will enjoy this tale of Barren, Indiana. I know I did.

  • Hollis
    2019-05-27 09:15

    Being a lawyer is a little like being a doctor in reverse : you look for the damage and try to grow it, try to push in, dig a little deeper, open up the festering places.BONFIRE was pretty close to being a hit for me. Unfortunately there were a few little issues that kept cropping up which kept this from getting a rounded-up rating from me.In a small town where everyone knows everyone, it takes real skill to look the other way.I might have clicked this title because I like the actress who wrote it but the synopsis drew me in, too. And I have to say : Ritter wove a really complex, layered, intriguing mystery that touches on the memories that haunt us even when we move on (or away), twisted up with highschool bullying, corrupt corporations, environmental issues, and greed. But the best part might be how she dealt with the sensitive and darker elements to her plot without ever having to go the shock and awe route. She wasn't gratuitous; even the romance-y moments were kept off page. This was about the story, the characters, the lies, the secrets, and she didn't truss any of it up with any t&a.There are the people of the world who squeeze and the ones who suffocate.While I did quite enjoy some of the mindfuckery aspects of the story as seen through the eyes of the main protagonist, it was Abby's extracurricular habit of drinking to excess and sifting through her memories of the night before that waned on me. I get that it added an element of suspense and that some of her actions were coming from a place of grief or emotional trauma, in a sense, but I found it not only unprofessional considering why she was back in her hometown but also frustrating as a reader. Also, I did guess the villain of the piece.. though I'll admit I didn't guess the how or why. So there might have been some of that typical 'don't call [blank]! don't let them in the house! you fool!' shouting going on in my head.. even if I couldn't figure out how it all tied up.Strangers make you feel like family should be the most important thing. Blood is thicker than water, that kind of thing. How are you supposed to act when it's not?I quite enjoyed Ritter's writing. Some passages were especially haunting, beautiful, and poignant, and the mystery itself was well-plotted and paced with suspense. I really did like the story and how all the element tied together. There is a lot of talent in this debut and I hope she intends to write more -- either related to this set of characters or otherwise -- as I'll definitely be picking it up.3.5 "half the evil in the world, I think, must be someone just doing their job" stars** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

  • Liz Barnsley
    2019-04-26 04:58

    I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this intense and atmospheric tale from Krysten Ritter - whilst it is far from being the first "Girl escapes small town only later having to return and face her demons" tale I have read, it is definitely one of the ones of superior quality and storytelling - Abby as a character immediately engaged me and the well layered, twisted yet authentic plot just sealed the deal.Big corporation v socially engaged lawyer is another type of story that I love to read - this is also the defining theme within "Bonfire" which the author uses to great effect - mixing up Abby's past life with her present, making her see things with new eyes and eventually leading us to answers and a rather heart stopping conclusion. I liked that Abby was portrayed as strong, driven, yet haunted by her very realistic demons - there was no sense of safety within the story for her at all, no promises made that she would endure. The supporting cast are cleverly woven in, the socially relevant big corporation cover up is given a new little twist and ultimately this is a tale of redemption and understanding. Sometimes you know, you just can't go home....The small town setting is beautifully described, you can smell the "Bonfire" in the air, see the good and the bad and all the area's in between - I want to describe it in some ways as "mean girls on acid" but that doesn't really say what I mean, Krysten Ritter building her relationships between the people you meet in an intelligent and thought provoking way. The mystery elements are clever, you'll love/hate/love Kaycee as remembered by Abby and the ups and downs between these two girls is one of the strengths here.Very good indeed. Yes. I'm aware of course that the author is a well known and much admired actress - I have not watched any of her screen moments but I'm fairly sure that if she is as good an actress as she is writer I'd better go track them down.Recommended.