Subterfuge is the name of the game at an elite and secretive prep school.
Seventeen-year-old Italian-American November was born in August. Though she tragically lost her mother at age 6, she has an enviable life in small-town Connecticut, a strong relationship with her dad, and a mentor in her Aunt Jo. That is until, due to a family emergency, her father sends her away to a covert boarding school. Instead of mathematics and literature, students at the Academy Absconditi learn how to wield weapons both physical and psychological, and history is taught so they might manipulate the future. Guileless November quickly allies herself with her studious Egyptian roommate, Layla, and Layla’s handsome brother, Ash. When a fellow student turns up dead, November must expose the truth, including her own connection to the victim and the influential Council of Families, while navigating a minefield of misinformation. The first-person narration is unreliable due to the protagonist’s ignorance of the society in which she moves, while surreptitious behavior by the supporting characters forces the reader to be as wary as November ought to be. Revelations are well-paced, though astute readers are apt to pick up several of the dropped clues (but some are dropped and not resolved). Red herrings or possible threads that will be woven into future plots? Anything is possible in this world of cloaks and daggers.
A strong beginning that will leave readers hungry for more. (Thriller. 14-18)