Creating a sense of doom is infinitely more difficult in a novel than in a movie; debut author Applegate makes a worthy attempt.
Camden arrives as a freshman at Lethe Academy, a boarding school in California. On the plane, she meets a creepy man who coincidentally is a trustee at her new school. Named Barnaby Charon, he creates a lot of misgivings within Camden. At least she makes new friends quickly, like Jessie and Nora, plus the glamorous Brynn. Best of all, there’s the charming and completely hot Mark Elliott. Camden might have seemingly random hallucinations, and she doesn’t get along with her roommate, but otherwise things are good at Lethe. When Jessie disappears and no one seems to care—and Barnaby Charon is involved—Camden knows she has to take action. But Camden’s visions are becoming more disturbing, especially what she sees when she visits Mark’s family. For all the questions Camden has, only one person has the answers: Barnaby Charon. At first, unexplained plot events, such as Camden’s going to boarding school in the first place and unusual images, may confuse readers. Yet as the tension mounts, the unanswered questions spur them on.
Anyone who knows Greek mythology will probably figure out the twist quickly, but this novel is still an enjoyable read. (Suspense. 14 & up)