An abduction survivor encounters a girl who reminds her eerily of her five years as a prisoner.
Scarlett was swiped from the side of the road by a stranger when she was 8 years old and became the housecleaner in a brothel. There, she was beaten and cowed (but not prostituted) by a vaguely Eastern European woman, her only ally a fellow enslaved girl named Pixie. It's been four years since she came home to her family—without Pixie. Now she's got a summer job at a superhero-themed amusement park in New Jersey (Five Banners Adventure World, featuring such superheroes as Skywoman and Wonderman, cognates so thinly veiled as to be constantly conspicuous). Scarlett has friends for the first time since her escape, especially an attractive white boy with an inconvenient girlfriend. Most of her co-workers are cool, but who is the mysterious Katharina? She's friendly enough, but is Katharina, dark-haired and olive-skinned like Latina Scarlett, truly a friend? With her similar coloring and familiar sayings, Katharina reminds Scarlett of nobody more than long-lost Pixie. With flashbacks that slowly reveal the terrible secret of Scarlett's escape and Pixie's fate, this psychological thriller evokes well-paced fear. Although it participates in many of the tropes and clichés of kidnapped-kid stories, it also overturns certain narrative expectations, making for a pleasantly bumpy ride.
A few unexpected twists and turns hold the contrivance all together for a pleasurably disturbing climax. (Thriller. 12-16)