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by Alexa Donne

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-593-47982-7
Publisher: Crown

A young woman lands in a Gothic mansion in a small seaside town in Northern California and rapidly becomes mired in its mysterious history.

After her mother dies, nearly-18-year-old Cecelia Ellis moves in with the grandmother she hardly knows. Maura Weston is nothing short of a celebrity, a rich, bestselling author of mysteries—the first and most famous of which was inspired by the 1970 murder of her own friend Caroline Quinn, a homecoming queen. Immediately taken in by a friendly but complicated group at Seaview High, Cecelia’s grief over her mother’s death is largely subsumed by her interest in Caroline’s murder and then by another present-day mystery that unfolds. A large cast of supporting characters, including Ben and Gabriel, two different guys who both interest Cecelia, all seem to be hiding something. Readers will be kept guessing about who she can trust, and the thriller sustains its central tension as one person after another is suspected of misdoings. That Cecelia so rapidly becomes immersed in this insular town following her mom’s death and her move from Los Angeles requires some suspension of disbelief, but her clever wit blended with flashes of vulnerability makes for an easily sympathetic narrator. Cecelia reads as White, and she remarks early on about the racial homogeneity of Seaview; Gabriel and his sister, who befriends Cecelia, are Filipinx. There are queer supporting characters.

An intricately plotted whodunit that maintains suspense to the end.

(Thriller. 14-18)