A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just can't trust, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston.
As a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that's what she's been told. She can't remember anything from that day. She's pretty sure she didn't mean to do it. She's a victim too. But her town's bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody's eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
When Cassidy overhears what sounded like an abduction and Melody goes missing, Cassidy knows she should go to the cops, butÖ She recently joked about how much she'd like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. It's up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened, because if she comes forward without a suspect, she knows people will point fingers at her. Again. And she can't let that happen.
But the truth behind Melody's disappearance will set the whole town ablaze.
Ichaso's chilling debut follows narrator Cassidy "Cass" Pratt, a high school senior whom cruel peers have dubbed Fire Girl in reference to her having purportedly started a blaze that claimed her childhood best friend's life. Barely remembering the traumatic event except through the occasional fire-tinged hallucination and her older brother's account, her fears of complicity in a murder return when her biggest bully, Melody Davenport, goes missing. Cass and her crush/confidant, Gideon, have information that could crack open the case, but they can't share it without incriminating her: just the week before, Cass wrote out with a friend the perfect way to kill Melody, but the notebook they used has disappeared and she begins receiving ominous text messages ("I'm so glad we're in this together") that warn her against telling the police. As Cass struggles to unravel the mystery, everyone's a suspect. Though teenage concerns (an upcoming dance, Cass's fixation on her dissolving friendship with Gideon) can slow the pacing, gripping twists and turns add suspense to this genre-solid whodunit and keep readers guessing until the very last page. Ages 14 up.