Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “House on Fire” as Want to Read:
House on Fire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

House on Fire

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,686 ratings  ·  391 reviews
In the bestselling tradition of Jodi Picoult and Celeste Ng, a tightly wound and suspenseful novel about a blended family in crisis after a drunk driving accident leaves the daughter of one parent dead—and the son of the other parent charged with manslaughter.

Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, sh
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Atria
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about House on Fire, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mike Chirdon
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,686 ratings  ·  391 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of House on Fire
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars

I am in the minority here and I liked this one. It wasn't perfect and I had some issues with it, however, overall, it worked for me. The suspense to the story kept me hooked and I flew through this one and ignored those issues till I got to the end.

With a few negative reviews for this one, I was hesitant about reading this one and it sat on my NG shelve for quite some time. I am now cleaning house and tidying up that shelve. I am glad I decided to see for myself and read this one.

Dec 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
After reading this book I have concluded that the author must suffer from multiple personality disorder and was off her meds while writing this book.

This is the most convoluted book I have ever read. What started out as an intriguing family drama turned into a discombobulated mess with multiple subplots that had absolutely nothing to do with the original storyline. Furthermore, these subplots were so outlandish they left me astonished at their absurdity.

I spent the second half of the book with
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

All of us have seen the difficulties of blended families. Parents who struggle to treat their step children the same as their own. Step-siblings that don’t get along and always feel the other side is getting a better shake. So, I loved the premise of this book. Here, the family has blended well, the kids get along, the parents do right by both sets of children. That is, until a car accident causes one child to die and her step-brother to be changed with the crime. Kistler takes her time setting
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-requests
Engaging, intense & thought-provoking!

First off I am not exactly sure that I would say that this book is in the same caliber as Jodi Picoult but I thought that it was an interesting and well-crafted debut though.

HOUSE ON FIRE by BONNIE KISTLER is an emotionally-charged, entertaining and fascinating tale that immediately drew me in and held my interest right to the very end. I found the drama within this story to be quite captivating and totally immersive. The subplots were quite interesting to r
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
House on Fire is a tense, emotional family drama.

Leigh Huyett is a divorce lawyer, and she knows better than anyone how easily marriages fail. She’s five years into her second marriage with Pete, and they are beating the odds. Their blended family is what many would aspire to.

Leigh and Pete are out for the night celebrating their anniversary, while they left Kip, Pete’s biological son, in charge of Chrissy, Leigh’s daughter.

As Leigh and Peter drive home on a rainy night, their phones blow up.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A tense emotionally charged domestic drama with some questionable subplots.

This is a really hard book for me to review. I was completely compelled and addicted to the main storyline. BUT there were some subplots in this book that were over the top. It’s like when somebody puts too much salt on your french fries. I mean french fries are the best, right? I am perfectly fine with just a little salt, but if you overdo the salt they become really unpalatable. However, that is not the fault of the f
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A familial piece with unexpected heart


Leigh Huyett and Pete Conley have the perfect blended family. At least, that was before that awful night. Now, they don't think they have the perfect anything anymore.

Leigh has a daughter, Chrissy, and Pete, a son, Kip, whom they both love to the moon and back. Chrissy and Kip are only a few years apart. Kip is a teenager and his decisions are questionable, as of late. But doesn't that apply to all teenagers? One night, when Kip knows Leigh a
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
1 Star ⭐️

The premise of House on Fire sounded very intriguing to me. I love domestic thrillers and this one sounded just perfect. The story started strong, but quickly fizzled from there. What could’ve been a fantastic book turned into a boring mess with subplots that had no business in the story. I don’t know why the author would do this - it took away from the plot and did not make any sense to me. I was really looking forward to starting it - mainly due to the Jodi Picoult comparison. To com
Nov 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tl;dr: A tightly written novel about a blended family and what happens after an accident--until the wheels come off the bus in the last twenty percent.

Obviously, I had some issues with House on Fire. Well, make that one really big issue.

The novel opens strongly. High school senior Christopher (Kit) has just gotten into Duke, and is celebrating at a party with his friends when his fourteen year old stepsister, Chrissy, shows up--telling him that their parents are on their way home early from thei
May 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle
I'm throwing in the towel at 40% there is so much going on in this book it could be two or three books in one. It would have been a decent story if the author would have focused on her original idea for the book.

Thank you Netgalley and Atria books for a digital ARC.
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
There wasn't even a name for what Leigh was now. If she lost her husband, she’d be a widow. Her parents, an orphan. But what did you call a mother who lost her child? There was no word for what she was. It was unthinkable and thus unnameable.

Bonnie Kistler manages to create a world that is immersive, introspective and nuanced without getting bogged down in the details over heavy-handed themes. She draws you in and holds you, with a world that feels authentic and fascinating, tightly coiled u
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon&Shuster for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Yes, I received the same book twice from two different publishers. A Netgalley first and I don't have good news.

I sure am glad that Kendall and Felicia have already reviewed this book. Because their reviews were beacons of light in the dark tunnel I find myself in after reading this book. MAJOR RANT and SPOILERS AB
Sherri Thacker
This book had a couple of different story lines going on and I found myself totally engaged in Kip’s story but the one about the embassy, I found myself pushing through the pages as quick as I could. For that reason, I’m giving this book 4 stars when I think I would’ve given it 5 stars if I didn’t do as much skimming. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book for my honest opinion.
Dana-Adriana B.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
It is an emotional story about a tragedy that take place in a blended family. I could not put this book down, the plot, narrative style and the characters are amazing. Good job.
Thanks to the publisher, author, and Net Galley for this copy.
Sarah Swann
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
REALLY enjoyed this book! I liked the conflicts that the family had to deal with - I have no idea how I would deal with anything even close to what they had to deal with. I also enjoyed what Leigh went through with her clients as a lawyer. times I felt like I was reading two different books. The main focus was Leigh’s family issues and what was going on there. But when we got into her client issues, I kept forgetting about her family issues. The two kind of tied together, but not e ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
In short: A confused mess of a novel that doesn't know if it's a fast-paced legal thriller, an intense family drama, or a breezy Navy Seal adventure.
Slightly longer: I was drawn in by the "for fans of Celeste Ng" sales pitch, but this is not a Celeste Ng -style book. What starts out as a promising premise quickly derails into a madcap, mish-mashed, and, frankly, bizarre novel. I was left with the feeling that the author threw in a haphazard array of outlandish elements in order to avoid writing
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Full disclosure here, this is labeled as a mystery/thriller on Goodreads and I wholeheartedly disagree with that, enough so that I would say it’s fiction and leave if at that. I feel like expectations are super important to me as a reader and this is really not a thriller whatsoever. I’m actually not even sure what it is to be totally honest, so there’s that too. Is there a mystery? Sure I suppose so but I mean that in the loosest sense of the word. Is it a thriller by any means? Nope, not at al ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
2.5 STARS - I was eager to read this domestic fiction read that is touted as a cross between Jodi Picoult and Celeste Ng. Those are big shoes to fill but House on Fire impressed me with its strong, tense opening scenes which had me looking forward to a tense, emotional drama about a blended family suffering through a horrific event.

But, House on Fire soon became a convoluted read when several subplots were thrown in leaving the book with a decidedly disjointed feel. It felt like it didn't know
House on Fire is the debut book by former lawyer Bonnie Kistler.

At first I was a bit unsure what genre this book was. Was it a domestic drama? A mystery? A thriller? I think that it is a bit of all three combined.

The story is told from the 3rd person POVs of a husband and wife (Pete and Leigh). His son Kip and her daughter Chrissy are in an accident. This accident rocks their family. And at first I thought that this case was going to be the sole focus of the story.

Leigh is a divorce lawyer and s
Beth McCraw
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I finally ended up skimming to the end. Very disjointed and all over the place. It was like trying to read two very different books.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
This book blew my mind! What a powerful and emotional look into the perfect blended family until one night changes everything. Leigh is a divorce lawyer married to Pete. When Pete's son Kip and Leigh's daughter Chrissy get in car accident everything changes when Chrissy dies. Kip is smart, headed to Duke but he seems to always walk the line of trouble. When Kip changes his story of what happened and now says that Chrissy was driving Leigh doesn't believe it. Pete is willing to do anything to sav ...more
Ali Hinchcliffe
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I legitimately could not put this book down once I had started it! For fans of Jodi Picoult & Lisa Jewell, this book will leave you shocked, satisfied, and desperately wishing for more. Kistler has knocked it out of the park with this novel, and I’m already looking forward to reading whatever she writes next! ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s a modern day Brady Bunch for Leigh and Pete. The second marriage for both, they bring their children together to create a beautiful blended family. They go away together to celebrate their anniversary, leaving high school senior Kip in charge of 14 year old Chrissy. On the way home, they get a phone call that there has been an accident and Kip has been charged with drunk driving. The next morning, Chrissy has died and Kip is charged with manslaughter. Until his story changes and he claims C ...more
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler was one of my anticipated reads for 2019!

With that being said... I feel that people are going to be on a spectrum with this story. You're going to love it or you're going to hate it.

I was initially interested in this one due to the domestic and intense family drama aspect. The premise of the storyline had so much potential and it appeared would hit it out of the park. But, unfortunately, this one didn't live up to my expectations at all and didn't hit my mark.

Marc Bougharios
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
3.5 stars

House on Fire was a slow-burning family drama novel with a little bit of mystery. That being said, it was still in the 3 star range for me because of its little twists here and there.

Pete, an architect and Leigh, a divorce lawyer choose to go out and celebrate the night of their anniversary leaving Pete's son, Kip who is a high school senior with 14 year old Chirssy, Leigh's daughter. Retunring home they recieve a call that they were in an accident and that Kip was driving intoxicated
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler is a family drama that will have the reader wondering where one's loyalty should lie in a blended family in crisis. Attorney Leigh Huyett and contractor Pete Conley have been married for five years. This is a second marriage for both and the couple have brought together their children from their previous relationships. On a weekend when Leigh and Pete have left her daughter Chrissy, 14, with his son Kip, 18, a horrible accident occurs. Chrissy and Kip are on their ...more
Deborah J. Nobles
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a family that seems to have figured out the best way to merge two households. Leigh and Peter are managing a blended family with, seemingly, minimal bumps in the road. One night of misadventures leaves the family in tatters. Everyone attempts to go on with their "normal" lives but find that nothing is normal. The main story weaves in and out of side stories with remarkable ease. I found this book to be provocative and compelling.
It was supposed to be like the Brady Bunch. It was like the Brady Bunch until the accident. The accident that left one child dead and the other to blame for her death.
The two Chris’s - Christopher “Kip” and Chrissy. They were so close that one night Chrissy biked to the party where Kip was to warn him of their parents’ early return from out of town. Neither should have driven the car home. But one of them did. And the repercussions were drastic and tragic.
With the death of her daughter by the h
Ellen ✦ Book Bellas ✦
4.5 Stars

Fantastic and engaging story of the aftermath of a tragic accident. Very insightful and sharp writing. This story would make a great movie!

This heartfelt and emotional story starts off with an almost unbearable tragedy. Two young people returning home from a party are involved in a relatively minor accident. But one of the people in the car dies. It was Chrissy, the stepsister of the alleged driver, Kip. How can their parents deal with this? When Kip is charged with manslaughter as
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress...


Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy of this book to read and share my review.


Wow this story was so addictive to read. The blended family is faced with the unthinkable – a car accident in which their children are involved in, one child is his, the other hers. An accident that could rip this otherwise happy family apart. Who do you be loyal to, your own child, or your spouse? I cannot imagine the turmoi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Night Before
  • Forget You Know Me
  • The Better Sister
  • Saving Meghan
  • Lost You
  • Behind Every Lie
  • Beautiful Bad
  • Someone Knows
  • The Night Olivia Fell
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had
  • Between the Lies
  • And Then You Were Gone
  • The Starter Wife
  • Save Me from Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1)
  • The Favorite Daughter
  • The Perfect Fraud
  • Tell Me Everything
  • The First Mistake
See similar books…
Bonnie Kistler is a former Philadelphia trial lawyer. She spent her career in private practice with major law firms and successfully tried cases in federal and state courts across the country. She and her husband now live in Florida and the mountains of western North Carolina. They have two daughters.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We’ve got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
36 likes · 58 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »