What Would You Save in a Fire?

I can’t think of a better book to have been reading when “book covers as outfits” became a popular Twitter trend, because the cover of Things You Save in a Fire is just perfect for it.

So bright, colorful and vivid — it was screaming for a matching look!

What do you think of my attempt?

This is my first Katherine Center novel and I am looking forward to picking up How to Walk Away next!


Fires burn things down.

But Cassie Hanwell fights fires, so her walls have always stayed up.

She’s never been in love, never been kissed (properly) and never been on a date.

Instead, she has been burned.

Her mom left on her sixteenth birthday, moving to Massachusetts to start a new life with a new man. That same night, her high school crush hurt her more than imaginable.

Suddenly, the resolve she’s worked so hard to put up comes tumbling down.

On the night she is set to be the youngest and first female recipient of the Austin Fire Department’s valor award, that crush comes back. It doesn’t end well. To make matters worse, her mom calls and begs her to move to Massachusetts for one year. She’s gone blind in one eye, and needs her daughter’s help. Cassie does not want to go.

Except now she needs a new job.

And this small, quaint, picturesque town has two openings at the local fire department. She may be the first female firefighter they’ve ever had, but she’s prepared for the challenge.

Until she meets the rookie who took the second opening, and realizes she may be capable of love after all.

The first rule of Firefight Club? Don’t fall in love with a fellow firefighter.


What I enjoyed the most about this book is that love stories don’t always have to be romantic! I was inspired by the multiple love stories threaded throughout the book.

Yes, we had Cassie and the rookie…

…But we also had Cassie and her mom. Cassie and firefighting. Cassie and an all-male crew who didn’t want her there at the start. Most importantly, Cassie and herself.

It’s a testament to Katherine Center’s great writing that I was deeply invested in every single one of these relationships.

As an ambitious woman just a few years younger than Cassie, it mattered to me that she never had to sacrifice her career to have everything else. This is not to say that she “has it all.” Just that she didn’t have to choose work or love, and love did not come around and suddenly surpass career. She could love both and be respected for that.

I have to say that this book is not what I expected!

After hearing about Things You Save in a Fire, I picked it up at my local bookshop without ever having read the inside cover or anything about it.

I’m a huge fan of romance/contemporary fiction and — judging a book by its cover — I never anticipated this to fall under that category! I feel like I’m so used to Sophia Kinsella, Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, Josie Silver covers that I didn’t realize I’d classify this book in that category. The cover art, especially the font, threw me for a loop. Such a pleasant surprise.

This could be a byproduct of having read dozens of books in this category, but a few parts of the story were rather predictable. As a reader, it was clear to me what was going on with Cassie’s mother and what had happened with that high school crush I mentioned earlier.

It’s possible this was purposeful, and that Cassie was just not a fully aware narrator. I didn’t anticipate the reveal of these two storylines because it was clear to me what was going to happen.

Having said that, the reveals still got me! I felt very emotional at both parts, even though my “suspicions” were 100% confirmed. Another testament to Center’s writing.

One more thing. In the story, without spoiling much, there is a firefighter at the station who does not want Cassie there and makes it very clear. We do not know who it is and I did anticipate this reveal for so much of the novel.

Here, the anticipation more than paid off.

I dropped my mouth open in shock, as I’m sure Cassie did when she realized what was going on as well. That was so brilliant and shocking and just an incredible scene. Not necessarily for who it was, as much as for how it all played out.

4 out of 5 stars.

Red Hot Reads | © 2023 by Scarlet Marie

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