A teen solves a mystery using information from paranormal seizures.
After Cassie’s father drowned in a boating accident, she had seizures, but she hasn’t had one in years—until her school bus crashes. Then they return, but they’re not really seizures: she appears to be unconscious, but her mind jumps into somebody else’s mind. She can’t control those she jumps into and doesn’t know their thoughts, but she sees and hears what they do from inside their heads. Separately, on an astral plane, she sees symbolic clues to two mysteries she’s trying to link and solve: who committed a recent hit-and-run in her Connecticut town and whether her former BFF, Amanda—in a coma from the bus wreck—has any connection to it. Terrifying scenes include being inside a skydiver’s mind as his parachute fails; being inside a rock star’s mind as she shoots heroin; and being inside a possible murderer’s mind while he’s trying to murder Cassie herself. Her narrative voice is breathless and saucy (“a skirt so short you can almost see Texas”); her casual appropriation, as a white American character, of “switshetshela,” the Xitsongan word for epilepsy (because “it sounds exotic. Okay, maybe not exotic. Just not so gross”), goes entirely unexamined. Moreover, the disability-as-magic trope is tired. Emotional healing supposedly happens, but it rings shallow.
Thrills without depth, purpose, or satisfaction. (Supernatural mystery. 14-16)