Two popular girls disappear unexpectedly, leaving their closest friend behind.
Kalah plays second fiddle to Beth and Britney in every way. She's the new girl; they're an established duo. She's a junior; they're seniors. She's Indian; they're white. Beth and Britney have always had dimensions to their relationship that Kalah hasn't understood, but now, Kalah and Beth have a secret too. Even though Kalah has a caring and dependable boyfriend, she and Beth have been kissing. Kalah thinks she might be in love. The day of her 18th birthday, Beth disappears, leaving Kalah both heartbroken and worried. A few days later, rumors about Beth and Britney's longtime boyfriend surface, and Britney disappears too, apparently by suicide.What follows is both the emotionally nuanced story of Kalah's loss and a genuinely chilling mystery. Kalah's struggles with anxiety are handled particularly well. There are stories of therapists and past incidents, and readers see her tapping systematically to soothe herself, but the anxiety—like her same-sex desires—is simply one facet in a complex and action-heavy tale. The ending provides enough emotional resolution to give a sense of closure but leaves the facts of the story interestingly open to interpretation.
An impressive blend of suspense and insight. (Mystery. 14-18)