Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

by Joli

Things You Save in a Fire is a book that I have seen allll over bookstagram (Instagram). Katherine Center’s covers are all so pretty, but this one really stands out with its bright, saturated blue background and red/yellow/orange flowers. After seeing glowing review after glowing review, I had to pick it up and see for myself what it was about. I’m so happy I did!

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About Things You Save in a Fire

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

My Review

I loved this book.

There are a select few books in this genre that I have really loved (domestic fiction/contemporary romance), but this one was just so charming, plus it featured a lot of really deep, complicated feelings and not too many eye rolling moments.

I could relate to Cassie somewhat in that she had a complicated past and just wanted to be a “normal” person, so she pushed everything down and didn’t allow herself to really feel it. This caused a lot of anger and bitterness, and I just wanted to give her a gol darn hug the whole time.

See, what the summary doesn’t tell you is that Cassie experienced trauma at the hands of an older boy when she was in high school (not a spoiler, at the beginning of the book). Although she never uses the word “rape” in the book, it’s clear that that’s what happened. This has soured her opinion of men and love and she’s pretty much determined never to need a man in any way.

The romance part of this book did have a few surprises and twists that I wasn’t expecting, keeping it interesting. Of course, there was the whole “I don’t need a man” thing and then boom, there’s this really cute guy. That could draw an eye roll from me, but something about Center’s writing and storytelling kept it from being cliché. She just has this beautiful writing style that kept me really engaged and feeling for all of the characters.

Overall, this book was just exactly what I was hoping it would be. It was light without being fluff, which is awesome in my book. I highly recommend this one!

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