This tale of the fallout from the war on drugs recognizes one family’s resolve as it hammers home the failures of public...

TRELL

In a Boston swirling with racial tensions and public corruption, a story of false imprisonment based in fact, from a longtime investigative journalist.

The case at hand: the murder of 13-year-old Ruby Graham, a casualty of gang warfare in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. “I know he didn’t do it,” says Van Trell Taylor, Romero Taylor’s 14-year-old daughter. She cherishes the connection she is able to maintain with her father, imprisoned when she was just a baby, despite the overwhelming constraints placed by the prison system and a local media incentivized to paint him as a monster. The family reaches out to Nora Walsh, a white woman from the projects and an upstart criminal defense lawyer with a growing reputation for toughness. They must scrutinize the details and fight against public opinion in order to free an innocent man. Lehr covered the inspiring true story behind this one as a journalist and brings to light many of the important details not only of the case, but of the public conversation that surrounded Boston at the time—and does to this day; this important dialogue is still ongoing. Yet the seemingly omniscient perspective of this veteran white male journalist squeezed through the voice of young, black Van Trell Taylor leaves readers questioning who’s really telling the story here.

This tale of the fallout from the war on drugs recognizes one family’s resolve as it hammers home the failures of public policy and the court system to uphold justice for all. (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9275-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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