But can dead girls help solve their own murders?
Rachel and Jaycee used to be best friends until Latina Rachel started hanging out with an emerging gang population in their small town. After Rachel is shot in her home and the police write off her death as a gang-related accident, it’s up to Jaycee to track down her friend’s killer. In this satisfying mystery, Jaycee has plenty of offers for help: There’s new boyfriend Skyler, Skyler’s older brother (and high school cad), law enforcement, an ex-gang member and, most prominently, a variety of messages Rachel, realizing her death could be imminent, hid before her murder. As Jaycee uncovers her small town’s biggest secrets, she never knows whom she can fully trust, especially when her own life is in jeopardy. She must also reckon with her developing, personal moral code when her religious single father sets strict limits that impede her investigation and blossoming first love with Skyler. While the story covers such mature issues as murder, mental illness and racism, it refrains from edgy language and sex (only a few steamy kisses take place).
Although the action waxes and wanes, the story’s greatest strength is in keeping readers guessing the killer’s real identity until the final scenes. (Mystery. 14 & up)