Together We Caught Fire
by EVA V. GIBSON
"High school. Why burn a bridge when you can carpet-bomb a whole f***ing village?"
I devoured this book in less than a day because I simply didn’t want to go to bed until I knew what would become of Lane, Greyson, Connor, and Sadie.
Raw, intense, and heartbreaking, this debut novel is not one for the faint of heart.
The author chose to include a list of possible “triggers” before the story begins, and I can’t express how much I appreciated that. While the issues discussed in the book are imperative TO talk about, they are topics that have the power to pull those of us who have experienced them back into the darkness of our own pasts (i.e. self-harm, anxiety, abuse, death, trauma); however, every single part of this book is clearly and meticulously written in a way that does not glorify or praise these issues, but emphasizes the fact that we do not have to go through them alone. There IS a way out, and there are people who can help us — at the end of the story, Gibson includes a list of resources for readers who want to seek help for themselves or loved ones).
Gibson’s writing is both hilarious and haunting as we are introduced to Lane, a girl who is fully and completely falling apart. I was instantly drawn to her “this is me, deal with it” attitude and her sarcastic remarks. Readers are strapped in and flown down a whirlwind spiral with Lane, giving them a front seat in a perspective they might never have known.
Each of the romantic relationships in this book that are toxic…at least in the beginning. As we get to know them, we see why Sadie is so desperate for approval and Greyson is convinced he doesn’t deserve her and Connor is defensive and Sadie is afraid of any/all commitment. As tragedy unfolds, we see them grow and recognize some of their mistakes, and isn’t that the point of reading about other people? To see them mess up and learn from it and somehow apply it to our own lives?
This is a story that also has the power to break stigmas and stereotypes, encourage readers to seek help when they need it, and remind us that love is incredibly powerful. I loved this story, and I hope you will too.
13 Reasons Why, Mosquitoland, Monday's Not Coming, Turtles All the Way Down
Sexual assault, strong language, self-harm, suicide, and toxic relationships including physical and psychological manipulation.
15+ due to discussion of sexual assault, self-harm, suicide, and toxic relationships