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LORD OF THE FLY FEST

A hilarious, page-turning take on influencers and true-crime fandom.

Fyre Festival meets Lord of the Flies in this deliciously unhinged narrative.

Eighteen-year-old Rafi Francisco is proud to have her own podcast, Musical Mysteries, and will stop at nothing for a good true-crime story—including spending all her money on Fly Fest, a festival of nearly mythical proportions that has gone viral and promises to make headlines. Rafi isn’t there for the partying, the supermodels, or the yachts, though. She’s there for River Stone, one of the musical acts, hoping to uncover the real story behind what happened between him and his girlfriend, who disappeared years ago when both were 17. Rafi intends to prove that River is a murderer. When she arrives on the Caribbean island, though, she realizes no one from the festival is there to receive them. As it becomes increasingly obvious the whole event is a scam, Rafi’s desperation grows: She’s sure if they all stick around for longer, she’ll get an interview with River and her podcast will become a huge success. Full of humorous absurdities that mirror real-life subcelebrity culture and true-crime fandom, the story is a sarcastic and engaging modern take on William Golding’s classic. Rafi is, as another character puts it, a little unhinged; she is a delightful protagonist whose characterization makes the book a quick and compelling read. Names and other contextual details cue some diversity in the cast.

A hilarious, page-turning take on influencers and true-crime fandom. (Humorous thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-23012-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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BINDING 13

From the Boys of Tommen series , Vol. 1

A troubling depiction of an unhealthy relationship.

A battered girl and an injured rugby star spark up an ill-advised romance at an Irish secondary school.

Beautiful, waiflike, 15-year-old Shannon has lived her entire life in Ballylaggin. Alternately bullied at school and beaten by her ne’er-do-well father, she’s hopeful for a fresh start at Tommen, a private school. Seventeen-year-old Johnny, who has a hair-trigger temper and a severe groin injury, is used to Dublin’s elite-level rugby but, since his family’s move to County Cork, is now stuck captaining Tommen’s middling team. When Johnny angrily kicks a ball and knocks Shannon unconscious (“a soft female groan came from her lips”), a tentative relationship is born. As the two grow closer, Johnny’s past and Shannon’s present become serious obstacles to their budding love, threatening Shannon’s safety. Shannon’s portrayal feels infantilized (“I looked down at the tiny little female under my arm”), while Johnny comes across as borderline obsessive (“I knew I shouldn’t be touching her, but how the hell could I not?”). Uneven pacing and choppy sentences lead to a sudden climax and an unsatisfyingly abrupt ending. Repetitive descriptions, abundant and misogynistic dialogue (Johnny, to his best friend: “who’s the bitch with a vagina now?”), and graphic violence also weigh down this lengthy tome (considerably trimmed down from its original, self-published length). The cast of lively, well-developed supporting characters, especially Johnny’s best friend and Shannon’s protective older brother, is a bright spot. Major characters read white.

A troubling depiction of an unhealthy relationship. (author’s note, pronunciations, glossary, song moments, playlists) (Romance. 16-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9781728299945

Page Count: 626

Publisher: Bloom Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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