Book review: 'Wildefire' is a surprising page-turner girls will love

Special to The Idaho StatesmanMarch 16, 2014 

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  • 'WILDEFIRE' by Karsten Knight; Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ($16.99)

I'll be honest - when I read the back of this book, I was a little disappointed. The summary didn't sound like something I'd like. Then I did something I've never done before in my life: I opened up to the first page and gave it a sample read. This is what I found:

Ashline Wilde was a human mood ring. Sixteen years old and a cauldron of emotions - frothing, bubbling and volatile. She had never heard of "bottling it all up inside." She was as transparent as the air itself.

I didn't stop reading until I finished it - and it easily became one of my favorite YA books.

Karsten Knight has a way of writing that sucks you in and lets you zip through the story, eating away hours and days before you even know what has happened. His imagery and metaphors are breathtaking, and he gives us proof that guys do know what a girl wants to hear in an angsty YA book.

Ashline Wilde is a high school sophomore with typical boy and catty-girl issues. Then, there's the not-so-typical, "Oh yeah, I'm really the volcano goddess, Pele" problem.

After a deadly encounter with her delinquent sister, Eve, Ash decides to enroll in a prep school nestled in the redwoods of Northern California to start fresh.

While at an unsanctioned outing at a local dive bar, a fellow student is almost kidnapped and Ash and four of her friends (Rolfe, Raja, Ade and Lily) are the only ones who hear their friend's cries for help. That's when Ash discovers who she and her friends really are - reincarnated gods and goddesses from all the world's religions and mythologies.

There were a couple of downsides to the book. There was a lot of language (not extreme, but it was there); lots of underage drinking; underage, closed-door sex, and even a pregnancy; and an 18-year-old college freshman park ranger who's interested in and dating and more with 16-year-old Ash. Creeper. Given the entire story and the ending, I can see where it comes into play. But it doesn't take away from the slight level of heebie-jeebies it gave me.

Rating: For content, I'd give it a PG-13. Overall, a 4 out of 5.

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