The summer after her mother dies, Savanna Riera is forced to live in a weathered farmhouse
in rural Texas. But as layers of dust are washed from the walls, her mother’s childhood home
reveals secrets from the past, riddles everyone in town seems to understand; everyone but
Savanna. When a wildfire breaks out across neighboring farmland, the boy next door calls on
Savanna to help the victims driven from their homes. Dev is an artist with kind eyes and a fierce
painting of her mother on his bedroom wall. But Savanna is drawn to Blake, a reclusive boy with
a scar running down his face like a teardrop, who looks at Savanna as if she put it there. The
three friends rally to bring relief to the evacuees. But when they face the fire of prejudice, they must rely on each other to get through the blaze unscathed.
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Interview With The Author
1. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would you read?
That’s a tough question. A year ago, I would have said Persuasion by Jane Austen. No
one gets teen angst and sarcasm like Austen did. But recently I’ve been more drawn to
the dystopian/fantasy worlds of The Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins) and Graceling
(by Kristin Cashore).
2. What was the first book you remember reading as an adult?
I don’t know where the line between young adult and official adult is crossed, but the
first time I felt I was exposed to something profound was The Metamorphosis by Franz
Kafka. I remember being completely enveloped in that world, and knowing my life
would never be the same again.
3. Where do you get some of your ideas?
I find people in general to be fascinating. There is a story in everything, if you just
sit quietly and observe it for a while. Everyone has some kind of pain they are trying
to overcome; everyone has dreams of being something they are not; everyone has
weaknesses and strengths, and agonizes about some piece of their character they find to
be unacceptable. Once you put those pieces of the puzzle together, the story naturally
About The Author
The first story K. Vann O'Brien ever wrote was about a balloon. Her fourth grade teacher read
the story aloud to the class, and O'Brien realized the power of literature to inspire and delight.
And she got a metal. And a cookie. And she quickly determined that all good things come with
writing. In middle school she started a novel, which she pitched in high school, deciding she was
much too mature for middle school humor. In college she studied Journalism, and started another
novel, which warped into many different iterations as she took professional writing jobs to pay
the bills after graduation. She's now hard at work on her second novel, which she hopes won't
take quite so long to write.
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