Realistic characters make good use of a gothic setting that will attract anyone with a taste for the edge.

WE'LL NEVER BE APART

Can Alice ever unravel her relationship with her twin sister, Cellie?

Alice and Cellie Monroe are connected by blood, tragedy, and secrets. But this connection is of little use to them in the Oregon State Mental Health Hospital on Savage Isle. Alice is familiar with Savage Isle. She and Cellie were here before, after an ill-fated trip to the beach that ended in violence. But this time it's different. This time, Cellie is locked in the heavily guarded D ward, while Alice is in with the general population, where she makes friends with a boy named Chase. Alice and Cellie are charged with setting the fire that killed their closest friend, but it was Cellie who set the fire, and Alice knows it's only a matter of time before Cellie makes another move. The only way to be safe, Alice decides, is to kill Cellie first. Jean weaves Alice's past into her present through journal entries, which track Alice's journey from orphan to foster kid to resident and provide relief from the tension of the mental hospital. Cellie's romantic relationships are another sweet counterbalance. The suspense does not quite earn the eventual resolution, which is quick and neatly packaged. The bulk of the book, though, rings authentic.

Realistic characters make good use of a gothic setting that will attract anyone with a taste for the edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-48200-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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