THE LOST CAUSES by Jessica Koosed Etting


Age Range: 13 - 18
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After a drug replaces their mental ailments with psychic gifts, a group of written-off teens must use their new abilities to solve a murder.

An ostensible group-therapy meeting brings them all together: Z (depressed, white, rich girl), Sabrina (addicted to pills, biracial Japanese and African-American, incredibly beautiful), Andrew (hypochondriac, white), Gabby (OCD, white), and Justin (anger problems, Latino, star football player). Instead of the school counselor, they’re met by people claiming to be clinical therapists starting a new program for those whose parents have given up on them completely—information they share with the teens. The next morning, psychic gifts show up: retrocognition (object-triggered visions of the past), supermath, clairaudience (hearing others’ thoughts), psychokinesis (moving things with the mind), and communicating with ghosts. The therapists reveal themselves as FBI agents who’ve given the teens a secret serum so they can use their new abilities to solve a murder—that of an ex–FBI agent and the serum’s inventor, whose serum stash is missing. The teens enjoy their gifts and the sense of direction that the mission gives them, as well as reprieve from their issues, until a teen ghost warns them not to trust the agents. The well-executed, fast-paced mystery plot turns slightly creepy with a romantic storyline between one of the teens and an FBI agent; though he’s young at 22, the subplot lays a skeevy coating over the fun. The ending teases a sequel.

A campy, popcorn read. (Science fiction/thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-77138-844-3
Page count: 344pp
Publisher: KCP Loft/Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2017


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