Everyone in the tiny Canadian farming community knows that Ruth Rose, despite being the preacher's step-daughter, is a crazy-bad girl. So who is Jim Hawkins to say otherwise?
When Ruth Rose surprises Jim while he's taking down a beaver dam on his farm one day he thinks she's playing some sort of elaborate game on him. She has been spying on Jim and his mother for long enough to know both of their schedules. Freaky. Even freakier, Ruth-Rose insists that Jim's father, Hub, who's been missing for a year, is dead. And not just dead, murdered --- by Ruth Rose's step-father, Father Fisher, to be exact.
Jim doesn't want to believe Ruth Rose, but when the crazy-bad girl tells him about a fire that links Father and Hub, he begins to think that maybe Ruth Rose isn't completely insane in this case and that there may be a connection between the long-ago fire and his father's disappearance.
THE BOY IN THE BURNING HOUSE is a fast paced, thrilling ride that begins
quietly and builds intensity as the pages fly by. At its center, is Jim Hawkins, a completely average young guy who finds he can no longer place his faith in his knowledge of the world. And with only Ruth Rose to help him piece together all the mysteries, Jim feels as if he's gotten into something he can't control. He knows he must find the truth or he won't have a future.
Tim Wynne-Jones sets his tale in the most unlikely of places --- a quiet, isolated town in rural Ontario --- and plops the reader into boiling emotions and the swift moving currents of events both past and present. The result is a wild plot filled with suspense. The reader will be panting for breath as Jim gets caught up in a series of events he cannot fathom or control until the story ends!
--- Reviewed by Cassia Van Arsdale