Hothouse is an emotional and unique story about the sharp and oftentimes unexpected change from being admired to being despised. The story is about seventeen-year-old Russell and his best friend D.J., who have shared similar childhoods. Both boys have grown up around the firehouse, because both of their fathers were firemen. Russell shared a special bond with his father, and knew his entire life that he wanted to grow up to be a firefighter just like his father. Unfortunately, both of their fathers died in a tragic accident while fighting a fire in town. Naturally, both the boys were devastated by the loss, but the story focuses more on how Russell copes. Initially, everyone in their town rallies around their families, because the boys’ fathers were regarded as heroes to the community. Everyone’s constant support helped the boys get through the tough situation. However, the story takes a dark turn as the boys’ fathers get turned from heroes to zeros. Some secrets into his father’s actions concerning the accident shed some light on the fact that Russell’s father may not have been such a hero after all. Now, he must deal with the fact that the man he idolized his whole life had a darker side he knew nothing about, and the whole community that once embraced him wants no part of him anymore. The story is an emotional journey and examines the way teenagers handle death and adversity in general. I would recommend this to mature teen readers looking for a powerful, but not too long of a read.
~Eric, Teen Book Reviewer