Sixteen-year-old Riley Strout and her three best friends are bound together by loss.
Riley’s mother died two years ago. Jay lost his father. Kate lost the aunt who was more like a mother. And Noah’s twin brother hanged himself in the basement. Thrown together in an after-school grief-counseling program in their mostly white Ohio suburb, the foursome shares a bond so deep they are more family than friends. Yet none of them could have possibly imagined the strange happenings that would force them to come face to face with their grief. Twenty-four hours after trying on an ancient cross discovered by Jay’s father before his death, Riley sees her mother in the grocery store. It’s not long before both Jay and Kate confess to seeing their deceased loved ones, too. And then, in an attempt to explain the phenomenon tormenting his friends, Noah suddenly disappears. What follows is Riley’s firsthand account of the friends’ desperate attempt to find Noah and to uncover the truth behind their visions. Kudos to France for creating distinct and compelling characters that will keep readers invested in her debut. Though the plot could have withstood a little tightening to heighten suspense and intensify the experience for readers, this is an entertaining mystery cleverly rooted in religious lore.
The Sixth Sense meets The Da Vinci Code for teen readers. (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)