Out of the Fire
We'll give them back the damage they left us with, burden them with the weight of our pain.
We may be temporarily broken, but we will leave them forever charred.
Ashes to ashes.
It wasn't the kidnapping that ruined Cass Adams's life. It was the letters that came after. The pink envelopes that appear in her car, her locker, her bedroom. Notes from the man she escaped, telling her that he's always there, always watching.
And that someday, he'll be back for her.
The police say there's nothing they can do, and Cass resigns herself to live in fear until she reconnects with three old friends-three girls ready to exact vengeance on those who wronged them.
But the deeper Cass digs, the more shocking the truth becomes, especially when she discovers that the person who ruined her life may be the only one who can save it.
As Cass deals with PTSD from the kidnapping and the triggering notes she receives, she learns that one of her former friends is dealing with her own cruel guy - an ex-boyfriend who is blackmailing her to sleep with him and who had forced her into intimacy while they were together, which he is now exploiting. Knowing that all the fall-out will be on her, she is eager to end it. Soon, they find two other girls who have similar problems with guys in their life causing fear and pain. Together, they decide to get revenge. As they work on each, Cass also continues her search for her kidnapper, who seems to have unlimited access to her. What are the truths and lies behind it all?
What I loved: This was really a story that keeps the reader on their toes, guessing as to who was behind the abduction and what is really happening. There were some twists that were easy to guess and others that I did not anticipate at all. It was fun to guess and be surprised along the way. The writing is really compelling and builds as the book continues, getting more intense as Cass continues to uncover clues and find danger.
The themes are really thought-provoking, particularly around abuse of power and the terrible ways men can wield their power over girls. Beyond the ex-boyfriend and Cass's kidnapper, there is also an abusive stepfather and a white supremacist teacher. Although this story is ultimately one of revenge, the messages around these are also important as well as the feeling of powerlessness that comes from such situations. Other themes around mental illness (particularly PTSD), friendship, trust and its betrayal, and family also merit discussion. This is a story that wants to be talked about.
Final verdict: Intense, fast-paced, and chilling, OUT OF THE FIRE is a YA thriller/suspense with thought-provoking themes that is sure to keep readers turning pages quickly. Recommend for fans of THEY WISH THEY WERE US, ONE OF US IS LYING, and THE GOOD GIRLS.