“Every girl has secrets…so do I. Topping my list is Bobby. Why on earth did I allow him to be my friend? I was desperate. My classmate Ariana and I had 999 friends each. There was a silent competition as to who would be the first to have 1000 friends on Facebook…”
Little did Jazz realise that this friendship would soon become life-threatening for her. Thank god for Shelly, her other friend, and their fondness for communicating in codes. Yet time was running out. Would Shelly be able to crack the code in time to rescue Jazz?


  • This is a fast-paced action and adventure story set in the present in South Mumbai, and moves along briskly. The reader is hooked to the story both because of the plot, and the cryptic codes used by Jazz and her friend Shelly’s methods of cracking them.
  • Unusually, for a book that is a mere 100 pages, the author not only spins a plot that’s fairly convincing and credible, she also gives us great insight into the two central characters, Jazz and Shelly, and their friendship.
  • The use of two perspectives – Jazz’s and Shelly’s – to tell the story is very effective and swiftly takes the reader into the minds of the characters as well as to the different locales.
  • Dreams on Fire? won the first prize in the fiction category in the Competition for Writers of Children’s Books, organized by the Children’s Book Trust.
  • The plot is a little weak in places, and a good editor would have helped tighten it and take care of a couple of loose ends. For instance, Jazz’s reactions when she is kidnapped and later when she comes close to death seem a little unbelievable. When she is lowered into a watery grave and weighed down with rocks, rather than panic, she makes a list of things to do in case she survives, such as get a tattoo and streak her hair blue!


Dreams on Fire? is an entertaining read and makes us want to watch out for more from its author.


Author: Shyamala S.
Language: English
Page Extent: 104 pages
Price: Rs 70.00
ISBN: 978-93-84699-73-4
Publisher: Children’s Book Trust, 2018
Subject Category: Fiction/ Young Adult/Adventure/Social Media
Age-group: 12+

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