Paris. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Les Invalides. Then there's that sinister cult addicted to immortality.
Prompted by her father’s job offer and to ultimately fulfill the wish of her mother, 13-year-old Maya and her family uproot their lives in California for an across-the-pond move to Paris. Though she has her objections, Maya can hardly voice them to her mother, a delicate cancer survivor. So, despite her brewing frustrations, she is dutifully accommodating, all while acting as the unpaid babysitter for her ebullient younger brother, James, to smooth the transition. However, Maya and James soon discover a hypnotically alluring cabinet, peculiar branches in their family tree and an underground society with a morbid recipe for staying eternally young. Though it's easy to generalize this as a coming-of-age tale, Nesbet more specifically pinpoints this as the story of a young girl coming to terms with mortality while realizing that finding her intrinsic worth makes her content and also inspires her appreciation of those around her. The underground society (to which Maya and her brother are more closely tied than she could have ever imagined) morphs from simply a strange affair to an intriguing mystery to downright chills. While touches of the ever-popular fantasy theme of vampirism are definitely there, they are appropriately held at bay.
A charmingly creepy European vacation for fans of chillers and thrillers. (Suspense. 12-15)