Review of “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter

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Review of Bonfire




Bonfire is a recent novel written by Krysten Ritter, a television celebrity , well known for her role in the Netflix drama Jessica Jones.  To be honest, I was unaware of the identity of the author while reading the novel.  However, upon learning that the author is part of a dark drama, makes sense since the novel has a dark thread running through it. 


The protagonist in the novel is Abby Williams, an environmental lawyer based in Chicago.  She is sent to her hometown of Barrens, Indiana to look into the influential company of Optimal Plastics.  Optimal is a huge supporter of the local community , and its influence seems to be everywhere including the local school system.   There is a definite suspicion that Optimal is corrupt and has used bribery to hide potential environmental misconducts, and Abby’s job is to find proof of such corruption.   However, due to the fact that she grew up in Barrens, Abby seems to be pre-occupied with her high school past including the clique of popular, mean girls that bullied her.  She is especially focused on what happened to mean girl Kaycee Mitchell who seemed to disappear after high school, and Abby feels that there may be an actual connection between Kaycee’s disappearance and Optimal.  


Bonfire , while discussing the repercussions of chemical contamination of the environment, also delves into the social web of high school and how it can be nightmarish, especially in light of cliques and social bullying.  I have to give it to Abby to actually want to find out what happened to the girl who was so mean to her in high school by collaborating with the other members of the popular clique.  It was interesting that she wanted to revisit those memories of her past no matter how hurtful they were to her in order to determine if Optimal was not only involved in corruption but possibly was also an adjunct to murder.  


The novel is definitely a page-turner, but the plot is not surprising.  The whodunit theme did not keep me guessing, since my suspicions of who the antagonist was from the beginning of the book were proven at the end of the book.  I felt that the link between Optimal and high school was a twist, but, in the end, nothing else caught me by surprise.


Would I recommend this book?  Hmmm….I’m not sure.  I think it’s a great time-pass, but if the reader is looking for something new or stimulating, this doesn’t fit the bill. 

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