The fourth entry in the bestselling mystery author’s series for teens continues the story of a group of young people living on Whidbey Island in Washington state.
The previous books in the series introduced a huge cast of characters, both teen and adult. The introductory chapters of this story reintroduce all these characters and their backgrounds, with 36 people and two dogs introduced in the first 100 pages. This volume weaves several plot strands together, with a bit of mystery, some romance, drug issues, and a dash of paranormal abilities exercised by Becca, a high school student in hiding from her evil stepfather. She is still involved with her boyfriend, Derric, who was adopted from Uganda, as was his birth sister, Rejoice, adopted by a family living in another town in Washington. Becca is now a live-in caretaker for her friend Seth’s grandfather, who is recovering from a stroke and trying to hang onto his house and land. Seth is in love with Prynne, a talented musician with drug issues, including heroin. Jenn is a talented soccer player who gets a job, makes the select soccer team, and explores her sexuality with another young woman on the soccer team. All of these teens are searching for distinct identities and stable lives, and all make progress in the course of the novel. Intriguing details of Northwest island life continue to draw readers in, while the style and plotting have improved from earlier entries in the series.
Unresolved situations, especially Becca’s missing mother, leave the door open for at least one more entry in the Whidbey Island saga. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)