Penguin Random House Children’s Books has scooped Lies Like Wildfire, the “compulsive and explosive” debut YA novel from Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.
Editorial director Carmen McCullough acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Kim Ryan, senior director of subsidiary rights at Penguin Young Readers Group, with Delacorte Press publishing in the US. The novel will be released on 9th September 2021.
Lies Like Wildfire is set across one long hot summer at Gap Mountain, following a group of teenage friends as they attempt to cover up a life-changing mistake.
The synopsis reads: “The monsters, a group of teenage friends, have known each other their whole lives. This is their final summer before college – time to hang out, fall in love and dream about the future. Until they accidentally start a forest fire which destroys their hometown and leaves death in its wake. Desperate for the truth to remain hidden, the group make a pact of silence. But the twisted secret begins to spin out of control and when one of the friends disappears they all become suspects. We know how it starts but where does it end?”
The author, who lives in Northern California, said: “Nothing has terrified me more in my adult life than wildfires. Over the past several years, they have burned and besieged my community in Northern California with unrelenting ferocity, so writing a thriller about five friends who accidentally start a wildfire was a natural choice for me. It was also cathartic to wield complete control over a disaster that is so unpredictable in real life. But as I wrote Lies Like Wildfire, I realised that the lengths some people will go to keep a secret is perhaps even more terrifying."
McCullough added: “Lies Like Wildfire is a non-stop roller-coaster ride of a book from page one through to the final shocking twist. I could not put it down! Alongside an incredible setting and compelling characters Jennifer also thoughtfully explores the devastating impact of wildfires – an issue that has tragically become increasingly visible in recent years. We could not be more excited to publish Jennifer’s very unique brand of thriller, which will have you gasping at every turn and leave you desperate for more.”