Cover Reveal: When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen

What do you do when the author of a historical fiction series you adore (Hi. Have you read Bright Young Things?) pitches you a book described as “super romantic” and “Titanic with fire”? Drop everything and invite her on your blog immediately, of course! (Seriously. Tell me this premise doesn’t sound absolutely amazing.) Today on Pop! Goes The Reader I’m overjoyed to welcome author Anna Godbersen to the blog as we reveal the cover of Anna’s forthcoming novel, When We Caught Fire! Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 2nd 2018 from HarperTeen, When We Caught Fire is a young adult historical fiction novel set against the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that tells the story of childhood best friends Emmeline, Fiona and Anders and the love triangle that burns brightly between them. As Anna has said “What could go wrong? Everything.” As a huge fan of historical fiction stories and Anna’s work specifically, I feel so lucky to have been able to collaborate with Anna on today’s post and to help bring you a little more information about a book that has quickly become one of my most highly-anticipated 2018 releases! The cover of When We Caught Fire was illustrated by Gemma O’Brien.


About Anna Godbersen

Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California and moved to New York to attend Barnard College. After graduating she worked in the literary department of Esquire magazine, where she also wrote book reviews. Her debut novel was the first instalment of the bestselling Luxe series for young adults, which she followed with the Bright Young Things series. The Blonde, which Weinstein published in 2014, was her first book for grownups. When We Caught Fire, a young adult novel set during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, will be published by HarperTeen in October, 2018. She lives in Brooklyn.

Author Links: TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

When I first started working on the idea that would become When We Caught Fire, I was a little intimidated by the metaphor that, if I was to do this project right, I couldn’t avoid. The subject drew me in — a romance set during a famous historical disaster, not to mention the chance to explore the now destroyed boomtown of downtown Chicago in 1871, and of course, I mean, the dresses.

All of that really set my imagination on fire. You see what I mean?

Fire is one of those metaphors that is embedded deep in our language. We say these things all the time: I was fired up, I was fired from my job, I had a fire in my belly, that really lit a fire under my butt. Fire is this primordial thing, the invention of which was crucial to the survival of our species, and which conveys spiritual transformation, romantic devastation, personal ambition — pretty much the grandest parts of our experience on this earth. So I was naturally a little tentative about using fire as a way to understand the impossible yearnings and personal trials my characters Fiona, Emmeline and Anders will undergo over the course of the novel. For them, the fire that burned their city was a real crucible (which is itself a cousin to the fire metaphor). Could I rise to the occasion? Had the metaphor already been used too much? Would it come across — the horror — cheesy?

But I couldn’t resist the concept. I was in high school when Titanic came out in the theaters, and for me that has always been the high bar of historical romance. I wanted to write something that had as heart-pounding an event at its core.

As I began writing, my subconscious sprang into action with some unexpected gifts. Fire songs kept going around and around in my mind. Sometimes this was really annoying, and sometimes it filled me with a rah-rah sense of inspiration and a conviction that this story was worth telling. Each song showed me another aspect of what fire signifies in the human heart. But mostly these songs taught me that the big, broad experiences, those heart-swelling emotions that could be cynically labeled cheesy, are always worth exploring and re-inventing. They are what define our lives.

The gorgeous cover, illustrated by Gemma O’Brien, perfectly conveys the swirling adventure and terror of the night the city burned and the big, bright emotions sparking in the protagonists.

To celebrate the When We Caught Fire cover reveal on Pop! Goes the Reader, I wanted to share my top five Fire songs. Thanks for having me. I hope this sparks a fire in you – to read, or write, or dance, or tell someone how you really feel.

5. “Burning Down The House” – Talking Heads.
A perfect let’s-get-going song.

4. “Hearts On Fire” – Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
All the feelings!

3. “The Roof Is On Fire” – Rock Master Scott and the Dynamic Three.
This one usually pops up when the writing is good.

2. “I’m On Fire” – Bruce Springsteen.
Exactly what all-consuming, impossible love sounds like.

1. “Girl On Fire” Alicia Keys.
Fire as personal transformation — happy tears for me, every time.



Title When We Caught Fire
Author Anna Godbersen
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Historical Fiction, Romance
To Be Published October 2nd 2018 by HarperTeen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

It’s 1871, and Emmeline is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. With her faithful best friend and lady’s maid, Fiona, by her side, all of Emmeline’s dreams are about to come true. And Fiona is delighted by her best friend’s rise to prominence — even if it means living in the shadow of Chicago’s elite.

But on the night of Emmeline’s engagement party to the most eligible man in the city, Emmeline is suddenly struck with the memory of a life long ago, a childhood spent in the swamplands of Chicago, and Anders, the boy who she left behind there. Anders, who is now a hot-shot boxer in the bad part of town…Anders who Fiona loves as well.

When Emmeline risks everything to see him for a final fling, Fiona can’t help but feel like she’s losing the last thing that was truly hers — her heart.

It’s only a matter of time before everything goes up in flames: their friendship, their love, and even the city of Chicago itself.

2 responses to “Cover Reveal: When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen”

  1. I can’t wait to read it! It sounds like a page turner.

  2. Charlotte says:

    What a gorgeous cover <3

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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