When 17-year-old Annabeth’s father’s college friends start dying, she is determined to find out who (or what) is taking their lives.
Nearly four years after Annabeth’s mother’s death, horror strikes again when her parents’ friends, her honorary aunt and uncle Malcolm and Sarah Bradford, die in a boating accident. At Bradford Manor, Annabeth learns more about a group called the Magellans, a college club focused on myths and legends, and the reason that Malcolm, Sarah, and her parents became friends. In the process she stumbles upon a deadly secret that makes her wonder whether the Bradfords’ deaths were, in fact, accidental—not to mention a romance that threatens to break her heart. Cashman’s (The Exceptionals, 2012) narratorial voice deftly balances Annabeth’s strength and fragility, and her pacing keeps the reader entertained. However, the supporting characters are less developed, and certain plot points feel contradictory. For example, Annabeth uses the reasoning skills her father taught her to figure out the mysteries connected to Malcolm’s and Sarah’s deaths, even though her father was unable to do so himself. Camila, who is Cuban and plays an insubstantial role, is the only character of color. Ultimately, the secret at the heart of the book feels anticlimactic, lowering the stakes of an otherwise gripping conflict.
All in all, a flawed but quick read with a strong narrator and a weaker supporting cast. (Fantasy. 14-18)