A loose Frankenstein retelling set in small-town Texas.
With her fellow nerd and best friend, Owen, Victoria “Tor” Frankenstein has been experimenting with electricity and dead rats, with the goal of reanimation. In a tragic car accident, she hits and kills a teenage boy—then brings the corpse and Owen to her cellar laboratory to try to fix things. The boy wakes up, but he’s lost his memory. Tor dubs him Adam and, with Owen’s help, surreptitiously enrolls him in her high school. While Adam is even more socially awkward than Tor (who doesn’t understand social niceties), he’s also handsome and athletic, and he quickly joins the in crowd via football. Meanwhile, boys are turning up dead, and Owen isn’t the only one suspicious that the killings, which started when Adam arrived in town, are related to him. There’s a lot of humor—especially in Adam’s not-too-successful attempts at imitating teen behavior. Tor is a prickly, unintentionally abrasive character whom some readers will find downright refreshing. While the mystery—and the question of how much violence Adam is capable of—is a terrific ride, the writing’s broad strokes (especially high school clique behavior) and the overly telegraphed conclusion to the killer storyline create minor story speedbumps. The best twist comes after the denouement.
A fast, fun popcorn read and promising series opener. (Horror. 12-16)