A Fire So Wild

A Novel

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Pub Date Feb 20 2024 | Archive Date Apr 16 2024

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Zibby Mag, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, and She Reads Most Anticipated Book of the Year

“Ruiz-Grossman balances the social and political, the emotional and physical, with insight and precision. Her disparate characters all hail from different worlds, and it’s a horrific thrill to witness their dramas unfurl and collide." -- New York Times Book Review

With the emotional echoes of Little Fires Everywhere and the lush atmosphere of Disappearing Earth, a riveting debut novel in which a wildfire creeps toward Berkeley, California, igniting tensions as characters from all walks of life confront the injustices lying beneath the city’s surface.

As a wildfire threatens Berkeley, the city’s inhabitants are forced to reckon with the cracks in the lives they've built.

Abigail, a wealthy homeowner, decides to throw a lavish birthday in a hillside mansion to raise money for the city’s newest affordable housing project—and prove to her family that she’s made something worthwhile of her life. Sunny, a construction worker who sleeps in a van along the bay’s shore, is in the running for an apartment—but only if enough funds are raised at the party.

As the heat and smoke from the approaching blaze descend upon the town, tensions rise and residents—young and old, haves and have nots—confront the inequities laid bare, and the fragility of building a life in a world on fire.

Alternating among a colorful cast of characters, A Fire So Wild is a timely, tautly paced novel that questions why when everything burns, not everyone is left with scars.

Zibby Mag, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, and She Reads Most Anticipated Book of the Year

“Ruiz-Grossman balances the social and political, the emotional and physical, with insight and precision...

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ISBN 9780063305427
PRICE $25.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 5 members

Featured Reviews

A really solid debut and work of climate fiction. The book is short and moves through a year pretty quickly. I liked the premise a lot. Sometimes it drifts into a bit of predictable land. It needs a little more oomph.

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I loved this book. Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, a former HuffPo journalist, has expanded her repertoire with a debut novel rooted in her reporting on California's fire season and the challenges related to its unhoused population. The book centers on X (short for Xavier) and Mar, high school seniors, one the child of recently divorced parents and one the only child of a couple simmering with tension. The characters are well drawn, complex and realistic. The destructive force of a raging wildfire and its impact on people of different social classes are both explored with nuance. It can be hard for news journalists to switch to creative writing, but Sarah Ruiz-Grossman has made the transition beautifully.

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4.25 ⭐️

This short debut novel packs a punch, as the growing wildfire lays bare the vast disparity between how climate change affects the wealthy and the struggling. This was a gripping story that flew right by. I wouldn’t have minded a bit longer story in exchange for more character development, but it was still a good and worthwhile read.

Thank you Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Harper, and NetGalley for providing this ARC for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

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