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Nothing Left to Burn by Patty Blount

SOME PROMISES ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP.

Topics of Interest: fire squad, Junior Cadets, familial relationships, death, grief, romance

Curriculum Connections: English, Career Studies

Gender: M/F

Age: 14+

Blurb: I have to admit that I’m pretty obsessed with fire. (But not in a creepy arsonist’s way, so no worries.) I’m just fascinated by the way it flickers, and how it changes colours depending on the kindling you use. I could probably stare at a fireplace for hours, if given the chance.

But I’m terrified of huge fires that burn out of control—wildfires that consume everything and leave complete destruction in their wake—the kind that firefighters risk their lives trying to extinguish. There’s just something so savage about it.

Reese, in Nothing Left to Burn, made a promise to his dying brother: that he’d make peace with their father. But Reese knows that first he has to earn his respect, and after years of hatred toward one another, it won’t come easy.

So Reese signs up as a junior cadet at the Lakeshore Volunteer Fire Department—the very department where his father is lieutenant. He thinks that if he works hard enough, and long enough, perhaps his father will speak to him with something other than scorn. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Tensions rise within the squad as the two are forced to work closely together. And when an arsonist hits the town, their tempers aren’t the only thing flaring.

Some promises are impossible to keep.

Flavour: “’What if you were to join the junior squad?’ [Alex said] When my job dropped, Alex stopped my protest with a raised hand. ‘Just listen. He’s a career firefighter. Loves it so much, he hired extra crews for his business so he could spend more time volunteering. If you signed up, he couldn’t walk away from you. He couldn’t ignore you. And he couldn’t kick you out—not unless you did something so terrible, he’d have no choice.’”

“Dear Dad, I promised Matt I’d do this. I know it’ll piss you off, but a promise is a promise, and I can’t let him down.”

“’Get ready. I’m going to get in your face.’ Halfway up the stairs that led to the station house offices, I froze. Why did I let Alex talk me into this? What in the name of all that was holy was I doing here?

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