From the Clue Mystery series , Vol. 1

Ingeniously plotted and vastly entertaining.

Stranded at Maine’s exclusive Blackbrook Academy by a violent winter storm, a handful of students and staff realize one of their number is a killer in this trilogy opener based on the board game CLUE.

Without electricity or access to the mainland, those left behind assemble in Tudor House, a decaying mansion, former girls’ reform school, and now girls’ dorm. Elderly Mrs. White looks after Tudor and its students, now down to Orchid McKee and Scarlet Mistry. Soon they’re joined by six more students, including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Finn Plum, Samuel “Mustard” Maestor, and day pupil Vaughn Green. Custodian Rusty Nayler and Headmaster Boddy round out the strandees. The storm rages nightlong, shattering a historic window and flooding the hall. The morning reveals more damage: Mr. Boddy’s lifeless corpse, knife protruding from his chest. Of the six unreliable narrators, the students with CLUE-sourced names, each has something to hide or protect, from ruthlessly competitive, self-described “platonic power couple” Scarlet and Finn to fearful, mousy-by-design Orchid. Why is Vaughn so guarded? Was athletic Mustard expelled from military school? Did Peacock really throw a candlestick at Mr. Boddy? Fans of CLUE and murder-mystery aficionados are equally well served. If a few secrets are revealed, plenty remain to keep readers guessing until the sequel. Scarlet is Indian American; Mustard is tan-skinned; other characters are presumed white.

Ingeniously plotted and vastly entertaining. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3834-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019


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

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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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