When she starts seeing the ghost of her sister’s recently drowned friend, troubled 16-year-old Arielle worries she may be “a little bit crazy.”
Sensitive, imaginative Arielle believes in ghosts, in contrast to her annoying, brainy older sister, Casey. The suspicious lakeside drowning in contemporary Velero, California, of Casey’s former friend, Perdita, triggers unresolved issues for Arielle and her family members, who have never recovered from her older brother’s drowning 10 years ago. Haunted by Perdita in bizarre dreams and strange visions, Arielle has trouble “telling the difference between sleep and wakefulness.” Grappling with intensifying psychic episodes and wondering who murdered Perdita, Arielle finds her shaky emotional balance further unsettled by Casey’s departure for college, her family’s downsizing move into an apartment, her best friend’s unexpected defection, and her own attraction to Perdita’s handsome brother. Sad, frightened, disoriented, confused, and abandoned, Arielle describes, in an intimate, fascinating, gripping first-person narration, how her “world seems to be crawling toward something different” as she descends into what she fears is insanity. The unexpected answers to what really happened to Perdita and what’s really happening to Arielle will shock readers as much as they do Arielle.
An edgy, intriguing debut novel of suspense, suspicion, and surprise. (Suspense. 14-18)