By: Kevin Wilson
Narrated By: Marin Ireland
I am instantly skeptical about men who write books with women as their main characters, and I once again went into this one completely blind, without even noticing the author was a man (I have to stop doing this!) So I was painfully aware that a man was writing this story, the entire time. I am also not generally a fan of sci-fi esque novels. This one was surprisingly light and touching. Women clearly held all the power in this novel – pretty much in every possible way – which made it more bearable, even if it was quite contrived.
There were definitely moments, especially at boarding school, when I thought to myself, “hmmmmmmm, do people really act like that?” and one comment about women not being able to dunk in basketball that reminded me at the end of the day, this was still a man’s tale about how women act.
But if you replaced the “fire children” aspect, with any number of qualities, syndromes, or diagnoses that might make children complicated to manage or care for, the story was one of two children who had seen real trauma, and found love in the most unlikely of places – with a lost and equally broken Lillian, who is also the unlikely best friend to Madison, the woman with ALL the power. Over the course of one summer, Lillian works to empower the children, to teach them new coping skills, to help them navigate their chaotic corner of the world, and to protect them from the people around them – their family – who keep brainstorming ways to essentially rid themselves of the children.
This was a fairly enjoyable, quick “read” (I listened to it on Audible), with a decent narrator.