Part high school drama, part suspense, the fast pace will keep readers on edge from start to finish.

THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU

“You are cordially invited to a night of murder and mayhem!”

Juniper Torres, Ruby Valentine, Parker Addison, Brett Carmichael, and Gavin Moon receive mysterious invitations from the Ringmaster to attend a murder-mystery dinner contest. The winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship—something they each desperately need. As they arrive at the Cherry Street Mansion and take their seats around a table, it is obvious that the Ringmaster has more in store for them than a simple game. Reading dossiers for their characters for the evening, it becomes evident that they have been watched for a long time and that the Ringmaster—clearly someone who knows them well—is in the house and is out for revenge: revenge for what happened at Dahlia Kane’s Christmas party months ago; revenge for the secrets they each carry that could ruin all their lives. From the first page there is an ominous feeling as information about each character is revealed, leaving readers trying to guess who is behind the mysterious Ringmaster. While the mystery is the main focus, the complex relationships between the characters and how they evolve really drive the story. The fear is palpable, and the surprise is real as readers gradually unravel the tangled web of lies. Juniper is Latinx, Gavin is Asian, and the other main characters are white.

Part high school drama, part suspense, the fast pace will keep readers on edge from start to finish. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4324-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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