How to Set Yourself on Fire by Julia Dixon Evans


I received a free copy of this book from Dzanc books in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way.

This debut novel follows our protagonist Sheila in the loss of her grandmother, strained relationship with her mother and relationships with her next door neighbor Vinnie and his daughter Torrey.

Sheila visits her grandmother the day before she passes away. Her grandmother mentions a shoebox, but tells Sheila she will explain more about it tomorrow. For Sheila’s grandmother, tomorrow never comes as she passes away the next day. Sheila investigates the contents of the shoebox and discovers hundreds of letters addressed to Sheila’s grandmother from a mysterious man called Harold C. Carr (who isn’t her grandfather).

Sheila explores this mystery with her neighbor Vinnie’s daughter and develops a friendship with her (and somewhat of a relationship with Vinnie) along the way.

This book is very funny in parts, tender and also awkward (as Sheila is an awkward and quirky character). Sheila is a bit of a trainwreck and not always entirely likeable.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes quirky stories, intergenerational friendships, domestic dramas/comedy and mysteries.

This book was recently released May 8th of this year and you can get a copy wherever books are sold. Thank you, Dzanc books for the copy for review!

“And then it occurs to me: if Torrey walked right out of my life right now, never to return, I’d be crushed. I’m already in too deep. It’s not like she’s a normal friend. She’s not a sister. She’s not a daughter. She’s something else–someone I don’t have to care about, but I do.”

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