(Isn't this the most quintessential 1990s YA book cover? I love it.)
I originally read this book back in high school. It's really, really hard to believe that was over 15 years ago now!! I re-read it in December 2016, to fulfill an item on the PopSugar Reading Challenge checklist: "a book you haven't read since high school." I gave myself imaginary arbitrary bonus points for reading the exact same slightly battered paperback that I had purchased back in high school. It still had my maiden name printed on the inside cover and everything.
Flash Fire is an excellent book for what it is. We must remember that in the year it was released (1995), we didn't have bulging YA sections in bookstores and libraries. There were small sections, if any at all. I remember my local public library had half of one side of an aisle for YA. It was feasible that a teen could literally read all the (YA) books in the library during their high school years! I honestly can't remember if the bookstore that my family frequented had a YA section when I was growing up, or if the few YA titles were just shelved somewhere among the Children's section. We've come a long way! I'm currently reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. When you hold up Flash Fire next to Heir of Fire, you're going to be disappointed. If you travel back in time to 1995, there's a good chance you'd be at least satisfied, if not thrilled, with Flash Fire.
Flash Fire is the story of some very well-to-do teens in CA who are all home alone when a wildfire reaches their neighborhood. They must escape without the help of any adults. This book is a suspenseful thriller! It's told from many different viewpoints, which really gives the fire itself a three dimensionality. It does, however, leave the actual people characters pretty flat. It's not a long book at all; it would have had to be told from a single viewpoint in order to give even one character a chance at being well-rounded. The suspense is what drives this book. Each chapter is titled with a time stamp, so the reader gets a good sense of how quickly the fire is moving and how quickly decisions need to be made. So no, I wouldn't say that any of the characters really grow or develop, but the book cannot be put down- it's a true page-turner!
When I first opened my Goodreads account, I remembered reading this one and rated it two of five stars. After this re-read, I'm bumping my rating to three out of five stars.
*I own my copy of Flash Fire.