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Playing With Fire

(Geek Girl Mysteries #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Farris Barnett is a girl with a big heart and a mouth to match. Recently relocated to sunny North Carolina, she’s all too pleased to be leaving her old life—and the stigma of her troubled past—behind her. A new school, new friends, and not one but two hot guys vying for her attention, life certainly doesn’t suck. But just as things seem to finally be going ...more
ebook, 265 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Clean Teen Publishing
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
I started this wanting something full of mystery, fun, and just plain and simple, something different. I got all those things with this read and I'm happy to report, enjoyed this so much more than I was expecting too.

This really was well written and held so true to what I feel someone like Farris should be with the way she grew up and the challenges and struggles that she has had in her life. Not only that but can I just say, yay for a parent being very prominent in the YA genre for a change? It
Sherry Ficklin
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is my book, so of course I love it. I appreciate all honest reviews! Hope you enjoy Playing With Fire!
SA Krishnan
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable mystery story.
After the death of her mother, Farries and her father move to another base. Both need a fresh start in their life and Farries’s conversations with her father, on this ground, is beautiful.
There at the new base, Farries starts making new friends with people who are like her. That is when the mystery starts. The way Farries solves the mystery and even starts suspecting her new friends and her feelings at that, are so beautifully brought out that I felt that the scenes were
Paula  Phillips
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farris and her Dad are in dire need of a new beginning. Especially since last year her mum died, her friends turned her back on her, and her dad has been living in his job. Farris's dad is in the military, and they are moving to a new base. When Farris arrives, she meets a group of misfits and for the first time in a long time finds herself fitting in. If only it were that easy, as her Dad is feeling the pressure at work and someone is trying to mess with the base and the planes. Farris knows sh ...more
Laurel McHargue
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this story because I could really relate to having two amazing boys fight over me in high school. Oh no...wait! That wasn't me! Even so, it's certainly a fantasy many can appreciate. What I actually DID relate to was the way Sherry presents military life. It's spot-on, and the details of the housing situation and the pressures and uncertainty of a life filled with change and worry made it feel real.

As with other reviewers, I also figured out who the bad egg was pretty early on, but it
May 10, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (5/10/2019)! 🎁
Brooke (The Cover Contessa)
I'd like to thank Clean Teen Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

I have long been a fan of Sherry Ficklin's writing. I truly have enjoyed her Extracted series and The Stolen Empire. So, of course, given the opportunity to read more of her work, I jumped on board.

I haven't ever read a hacker type novel before. So I was interested to see where this one went. I thought there w
Sherry's new series is just plain amazing! I love that this series is full of technology. I love technology, and its the field I work in, besides books. So two in one is perfect for me!

Anyhow....Farris and her dad has just moved, once again. She is used to moving, after all its a common thing with the air force. But this time its different. This time its just her and her dad. She's still dealing with the loss of her mom, a new home, a new school, its all a lot for Farris. And to make it harder,
Mary Maddox
This YA novel centers on Farris Burnett, a teenage hacker whose father is a Marine Corps officer. The story begins as he assumes command of Cherry Point air base and she enrolls in a new high school. When someone hacks the base computers and begins wreaking havoc, Farris sets out to find the culprit.

Farris has a strong voice, and the secondary characters are complex and interesting. Overall the writing is good, but the book could have used better editing. The author uses principal in a context t
Meradeth Houston
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this was one of those books that I enjoyed, but it really didn't capture me. You know, the ones that you just don't quite connect with the MC, and the pacing just doesn't quite work for you. I'm more than a little certain this is just me, as I can imagine any kid who grew up on base would enjoy this quite a lot. Just, for me, it didn't hit the right points to make me engrossed. Plus, there was a love triangle and some almost insta-crushing that made me a little less interested. But, Farris w ...more
I am absolutely, positively IN LOVE with Sherry's new series, #Hackers, featuring teen computer genius (and my new favorite YA character) Farris. I loved every single second of this reading experience! I knew I was in for something good when I read about Farris and her father, in the car approaching what would be their latest "hometown," passing the "Welcome to Havelock" sign. I thought for sure I had read it wrong, so I did a double and triple-take to make sure it really did say "Havelock," and ...more
Ethan Gregory
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review and more available at: http://oneguysguidetogoodreads.blogsp...

My Thoughts:

Sherry Ficklin. Oh my dear Queen of Literary Greatness. You’ve graced us with nearly every genre imaginable and crafted each passing tale to near perfection. With so many absolutely incredible stories under her belt, I found myself so excited to see what she could craft next. Coming off of the massively successful award-winning and best-selling Stolen Empire series, I was worried that her next work may no
Eve (Functioning Insanity Reviews)

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book for my honest opinion. Also thank you Sherry for telling me about your work when I saw you at UtopYA and making me want to check it out!

Rating: 4 Stars

Playing With Fire is the first book in the #Hacker series. We follow Farris, a girl still dealing with her less than pleasant past as she relocates with her dad to a military base so he can run an experimental aircraft squadron. Aside from the usual settling in
Constance Roberts
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised with Playing With Fire. It's been awhile since something in the contemporary genre has really grabbed me. I haven't ever read a teen book that takes place on a military base so the novelty of that was intriguing, as I'm not at all familiar with that lifestyle. I was really impressed by the technical jargon but also relieved that it was all worded in a way that someone like me, who's head is consumed in a fantasy world, can understand. Sort of, anyway. I think I underst ...more
SE Stone
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Farris and her father move to a military base in North Carolina, she knows it’s her opportunity to rebuild her life. But soon the challenge of navigating high school cliques becomes the least of her problems when a series of computer glitches threaten the security of her father’s aircraft squadron. Farris soon finds herself on a mission to discover the truth, a mission that puts her on the hunt fora dangerous hacker determined to ground the squadron at any cost.

I downloaded Playing with Fir
K.M. Robinson
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Originally, I thought Playing with Fire would be the book that filled the Eye Candy void in my heart since MTV canceled the series. It was not what I was expecting, but still a nice read. I am a tech geek so I was very excited to have a book about the hacking world to read. It started out a bit slow. By a third of the way through there has been absolutely no hacking (only mention that Farris likes to build computers and doesn't l ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
NetGalley. Thanks for the copy.

Wow. Playing With Fire. I have seen a lot of hacker novels. There is Little Brother (which is probably the most accurate cracker/hacker novel I've seen yet), Model Spy (which is more spy than hacking but does occasionally involve hacking), and Double Digit (main character's sudden hacking ability makes present-me's eyes narrow, because coding involves more than just math; then again, her memory does come in handy).

Playing With Fire is a mixture of both reality and
Jodi Gallegos
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Farris Barnett and her father have just moved to a new military base. Although she is used to being the new kid, Farris hopes to avoid the kind of problems she had at her last school. Before she knows it, Farris finds herself firmly lodged between two different social circles, and two entirely different boys, each of whom swears that the other is bad news. As if navigating a new high school wasn't enough pressure, a hacker has infiltrated the new flight program that her dad is in charge of, and ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, ya, mystery
Playing with Fire is technically my second introduction to Sherry Ficklin’s work and the life of Farris. However after reading book 2 and discovering that Book 1 is currently available on the author site for FREE, (, well, I couldn’t resist the world that I had discovered in Book 2.

Playing with Fire is more of an introduction to the cast of the Hacker series. The pace is slower, the stakes are lower but it’s still very good. The main character, Farris, is definitely tec
Jenny Bynum Black Words-White Pages
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All ages
Recommended to Jenny Bynum by: Clean Teen Publishing
Anyone who knows me knows that I a reader of YA Paranormal, but sometimes I have a tendency to step out of my comfort zone and read other genres and especially if the synopsis catches my attention and this one really caught my attention. I am a huge fan of Clean Teen Publishing and I love reading anything their authors put out there for our enjoyment in the art of reading.

This is the first time that I have actually read a novel by this author and I am pleasantly surprised by her writing style. I
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhhh - what to say about this amazing book!?!? I wasn't sure that I would enjoy it as I am not a super knowledgeable computer person, but that really didn't affect me enjoying the story, the characters or the way that I was instantly hooked and in love with Farris, Ollie, Kayla and friends. I started reading this one knowing that I had book 2 waiting for me and boy am I glad that I did! While book 1 doesn't end in a cliffhanger, it does end with the reader wanting more!

The story starts with F
Joood Hooligan
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It's been about a year since I first read a Sherry Ficklin book, and a little over six months since I discovered that I have enjoyed everything I've read by her.

This was no exception.

I'm always up for a main character being a computer genius, so I was quite interested in this one when I saw it was coming out.

Farris is pretty cool and she's got great taste in nerd culture, so tha
Emily (Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories)
This was quite an interesting read. Though I wasn't all that impressed, I was entertained. The book does start off slow and takes a little bit of encouragement to continue reading. However, there is far more hacking lingo within this book than others that I have read in the past.
Unfortunately, the book only goes down hill from here. Besides the incredibly slow start, there were many missed opportunities to create more complex and realistic scenes. Everything felt too rehearsed and unnatural. Th
Jan farnworth
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this start to a great new series hackers novels are new to me type of genre i tend to stick to the more fantasy realm of sci fi but i like to shake things up now and then and it helps when it an author i all ready adore writes it. I like how Sherry built up the story for us and we really got to learn quite a bit about the characters in this novel. The mystery and intrigue of who was causing the problems that our main character was using her hackers skills to solve was a great wa ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I received this book in exchange for an honest review**

I was really excited for this book. I love anything to do with hackers and coders, good or bad. Farris is a great protagonist and pretty relatable. Like Farris, I liked both Reid and Oliver and for different reasons. They both have history and she's caught in between and I liked that drama between them.

I would have liked to have seen more of the 'hacking' side of things, but aside from that it was a
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hacker
I enjoyed this book very much!! Farris, I love her, she is witty and quirky. I love her relation with her father. They are cool! Then I suspected who could be behind the problems happening at her father's base. Lol! I was excited when it was confirmed cuz yes I was right :P
The starting felt a little slow but that's cool as the story progressed I got hooked. Then her relation with Oliver/ Ollie( which is a cute nickname and also nickname of other fav character which I adore) was cute.
Liked it
Julie Salinas
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel so inadequate with technology, but the main character of this book excels at using it to gather information. She has a tendency to run towards danger, not away from it, mainly from a need to solve a mystery. Farris is an Army Brat, one who on the outside exudes her individualism, but on the inside is a bit battered from the past year of loss and disruption from moving to a new base. Even so, she just can't step away from a mystery. This is a fast paced book that is hard to put down, not y ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written YA mystery

This has a well-plotted big mystery & good character mysteries. Farris is a believable teen-detective & smart. Character & plot development get equal attention.

And bonus: a person of color is a leading secondary character (and not a cliché) & a person with a mental illness is treated well.

A good read. I look forward to more of this series & this author.
Julie Salinas
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this story! Farris knows technology and how to use it, balancing on the sharp edge of legality when she uses it, striving to solve a mystery that involves the people closest to her. She is a military brat, used to relocating, and this time she hopes to start fresh in this new location. A fun read, tension throughout, with twists I did not see coming.
Linda Barnett
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More about the HS relationships and the personal history/baggage of the characters, then a hacker story line, but very enjoyable, none the less. This is the first book by Ficklin that I've read, but it won't be the last. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Ferris in the next two books, as well as reading her other series.
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Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of

Other books in the series

Geek Girl Mysteries (3 books)
  • In Too Deep (#Hacker, #2)
  • Digital Horizon (#Hacker, #3)

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