Synopses & Reviews
From a bestselling writer, a story of unexpected friendship — three women thrown together in college who grow to adulthood united and divided by secrets, lies, and a single night that shaped all of them
When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between — the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives — is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel.
Anna, the de facto leader, is fearless and restless — moving fast to stay one step ahead of her demons. Quirky, contemplative Kate is a natural sidekick but a terrible wingman (“If you go home with him, might I suggest breathing through your mouth”). And then there’s George: the most desired woman in any room, and the one most likely to leave with the worst man.
Shot through with the crackling dialogue, irresistible characters, and propulsive narrative drive that make Lutz’s books so beloved, How to Start a Fire pulls us deep into Anna, Kate, and George’s complicated bond and pays homage to the abiding, irrational love we share with the family we choose.
books have so expertly captured the intricacies and complexities of
female friendship. Whipsmart and cunning, deeply funny and profoundly
moving, Lisa Lutz’s How to Start A Fire is a knockout." Megan Abbott, author of The Fever
"Bestselling author Lutz (the Spellman Files series) hits a home run in
this glorious exploration of friendship, which follows the trajectory of
three college friends over 20 years....A traumatic event in their 20s binds the
three women, and Lutz, moving back and forth in time, brilliantly
intertwines their lives over the next two decades, as Kate leaves her
sheltered life and explores the world, Anna pursues an M.D., and George
becomes a forest ranger. The author portrays three fully drawn, flawed,
and compelling women with fresh insight into the mysterious terrain of
female friendships — a mix of shared experiences, affection, empathy,
jealousy, anger, and love." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Engaging portrait of female friendship...with wit and a gift for
capturing the repartee between siblings and old friends, Lutz brings us a
memorable and ultimately uplifting saga of three strong, unique
"Telling the story of three women and their two-decade friendship, Lutz
ventures away from her snarky Spellman Files series and ends up firmly
in women’s-fiction territory....Lutz’s offbeat wit is also on display, such as in
one character’s reliable getting-to-know-you question of, 'Who would
you save in a fire, Keith Richards or Pete Townshend? The answer is Pete
Townshend. A fire wouldn’t kill Keith Richards.' Although the ending is
a bit flat in comparison to the narrative drive of the story, this is
an absorbing tale that will satisfy Spellman fans as well as women’s
fiction readers who like a good ensemble story." Booklist, Starred Review
From a best-selling writer, a story of unexpected friendship — three women thrown together in college who grow to adulthood united and divided by secrets, lies, and a single night that shaped all of them.
About the Author
LISA LUTZ is the New York Times best-selling author of the six novels in the Spellman Files series and Heads You Lose (with David Hayward). Lutz has won the Alex Award and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in upstate New York.