This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
Ten years in the future, in a United States under constant terror watches, Dorian dreams of the sister he can't remember and his parents swear never existed. Dorian has learned to hate Muslims after the incidents in California and cannot tolerate the fact that his neighbor has adopted an orphan from a Muslim refugee camp. All the while he tries in vain to convince his parents that his sister was real and exists not only in his dreams.
In Not on Fire, but Burning, Greg Hrbek (The Hindenberg Crashes Nightly) suggests that the world is incomprehensible in its vastness and inexplicable in its variations--and that finding our place within this vast, variable life is, perhaps, our greatest challenge. Through the lens of 12-year-old Dorian's life, and his questions about what is real and what is imagined, what is the past and what is the future and what is a dream, Hrbek has built a novel that is part post-apocalyptic fiction, part coming-of-age story, part suspense and part thriller: an exploration of space, time, prejudice, family, love, reality, kindness and hate.