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SPOOKYGIRL

PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR

Although pitched as a paranormal adventure, the story’s slightly different approach to the nuclear family steals the...

Packed with ghosts, poltergeists and even a half-vampire, this book provides a fun ride for teens interested in the supernatural.

At age 6, Violet began learning about her ability to see and communicate with ghosts—a talent inherited from her mother, the leader of a paranormal investigative team with Violet’s dad. However, her mother’s accidental death abruptly ended Violet’s training, leaving her with a dad determined to ignore her paranormal abilities and without the knowledge to safely control them. Violet’s truncated training isn’t problematic until she starts at a new high school with more than its fair share of haunted happenings. Normally Violet has lain low at school, but shortly after her first day here, she gets the nickname SpookyGirl, in part because her dad is a mortician and they live above their funeral home, but also because her school’s ghosts, which range from benevolent to deadly, can’t seem to leave her alone. Determined to follow in her mother’s path, Violet attempts to understand these spirits and finds herself deadlocked in spiritual communication way beyond her abilities. Violet narrates the tale in a straightforward, easygoing past tense that balances humor with suspense.

Although pitched as a paranormal adventure, the story’s slightly different approach to the nuclear family steals the spotlight with well-defined characters, both living and not-so living. (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-42584-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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THE LAKE

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills.

A group of teens stranded in a snowstorm discovers a murderer in their midst.

While traveling on the highway to a state theater competition, Nell and her friends Min, Raven, Adam, and Jermaine are caught in a dangerous blizzard. Their teacher, Mrs. McElroy, who is driving the minivan, decides to stop for the night at the run-down and shady-looking Travel Inn and Out. The motel is labyrinthine and spooky, with dingy corridors and walls adorned with moldering kitsch. Nell and the gang meet another group of kids who are also stranded by the storm, making fast friends. A game of Two Truths and a Lie starts out flirty and fun but devolves into something more sinister when one slip of paper reads “I like to watch people die,” and “I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.” The snow falls and the winds howl, and soon power and cell service are lost, cutting off the motel patrons from the outside world. As the first victim is discovered and the body count begins to grow, the terror becomes palpable. Everyone at the motel seems to have an insidious secret: Will Nell be able to uncover the killer before they strike again? An homage to Agatha Christie, Henry’s locked-room mystery is tautly plotted, with quick-moving nail-biting chapters, relatable characters, and a deftly wrought setting that paradoxically manages to feel both claustrophobic and sprawling. Nell is White; there is diversity among the secondary characters.

An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills. (Mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-32333-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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