Hits the right buttons for mystery and paranormal lovers.

IMPOSTOR

In this sequel to 2012’s Slide, Vee suspects that someone is sliding into her own mind, instead of the other way around.

Vee has the ability to “slide” into other people’s minds and take over their speech and actions. However, she has been having blackouts herself, some leading to near-fatal consequences. Vee and former best friend Samantha patch things up after Samantha learns that Scotch, the boy who menaced Vee in the earlier book, has been spreading rumors about her, and they concoct a plan to retaliate. Everything goes wrong when Scotch falls off a cliff after yet another blackout. Vee doesn’t know how Scotch fell, and the girls must hide their involvement in the incident. After a murder occurs, matters become even more serious, and Vee doesn’t know whom to trust. Even as all this plays out, Vee realizes she wants to get romantic with friend Rollins, who doesn’t seem to reciprocate, and Vee’s long-lost aunt shows up and seems to be taking her mother’s place in their home. Vee’s on-again, off-again romance with Rollins adds some spice and uncertainty, but the major story here surrounds the mystery of who is sliding into Vee. Suspects abound. Hathaway manages to juggle a lot: Family matters, friendship and romance mix with the paranormal elements and the mystery.

Hits the right buttons for mystery and paranormal lovers. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-207798-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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An unsettling but easy-to-read blend of social media savvy and gritty gumshoe work.

14 WAYS TO DIE

A teen sleuth tries livestreaming to catch a murderer.

Seventeen-year-old Jessica Simmons lost her mother a decade ago, the first victim of the Magpie Man, a serial killer now on victim No. 13, who has struck in locations around the U.K. Her father’s life is still in shambles and her former friends are long gone, but Jessica’s decided to publicize her tragedy. One of five contestants on YouTube’s “The Eye”—an unscripted, livestreamed reality show—Jessica asks her viewers to help identify the serial killer. But inviting the world into her home and school brings unwanted attention, perhaps even from the Magpie Man, whose body count keeps climbing: Sleuthing-related drama and peril ensue. Jessica’s friends and family are economically rendered yet believable, and Ralph renders grief beautifully and devastatingly, as something that evolves but doesn’t end. As in the story, the bulk of the action occurs when the cameras aren’t rolling, and eventually, the reality show premise and its minimally developed contestants are more a distraction and transparent deus ex machina than an integral part of Jessica’s journey. More intriguing—and with real-life precedents—is the possibility of crowdsourcing a murder investigation. Although the fast-paced finale can’t quite overcome the slow start and overlong middle, the tale reaches a dramatic, satisfactory conclusion. Characters follow a White default.

An unsettling but easy-to-read blend of social media savvy and gritty gumshoe work. (resources, author interview) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72823-186-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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

THE LAKE

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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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