A girl makes a deal with the devil—or something awfully similar—in this Faustian suspense tale.
Seventeen-year-old Edie, the unattractive, nerdy daughter of brilliant physicists and the constant victim of popular bullies in her private high school, finally decides to commit suicide to escape her tormentors. An amazingly handsome young man named Kian stops her and offers her a deal: She will receive three favors over five years if she agrees to stay alive and later provide three favors to his employer. She takes the deal and asks first for beauty. Kian molds her face and body until she is truly beautiful. When she returns to her high school seeking revenge, however, Edie watches in horror as her former tormentors begin to suffer horribly. Meanwhile, a ghastly trio of ghosts threatens her, and she begins to understand that she has become a pawn in a supernatural game. She’s also fallen hard for Kian, but she can’t be sure he isn’t merely doing the bidding of his awful employer. Aguirre has confidence in her audience, never dumbing down her prose while always keeping her readers guessing. Edie makes an impressive heroine as she not only fights the increasingly dreadful baddies, but matures as a person, lifting the book beyond easy thrills. The story has a freshness and intelligence that puts it at the top of the genre.
A standout trilogy opener. (Horror. 12-18)