Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Playing With Fire by April Henry

Playing with Fire Cover Art

Playing With Fire by April Henry
Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co. 
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250234063 

When a fast-moving wildfire traps Natalia, Wyatt, and a group of other hikers, they must do whatever it takes to make it out alive, which means hiking farther into the forest and potential danger. During this treacherous journey, the group must use their survival skills to help each other as they encounter wild animals, injuries, and very rough terrain. This is not what Natalia had in mind for her and Wyatt’s first date. 

Playing with Fire starts off with a bang, literally, and the action doesn’t stop until the very end. Teens will enjoy the quick hook, diverse set of characters, and fast-paced plot progression. Including Natalia’s backstory adds depth to the story and gives the reader more insight into why the stakes are higher for her when trying to outrun the fast-moving wildfire.  

Fans of reality television such as Survivor and Bear Grylls’s Man vs. Wild franchise would be a great match for this book. Other books the reader might enjoy are Aftershocks by Marisa Reichardt and I am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall, both of which also feature survival situations and a lot of action.  

–Jayna Ramsey, Lakewood, CO

Other Nominated Titles

  • Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo (March 21, 2021)
  • Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles (January 26, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the Title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

Published by

Quick Picks

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.