A decent crime story that’s hamstrung by its ending.

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A 17-year-old girl tries to fit in at her new private school after a lifetime of moving around the country with her widowed father.

Since the car crash that killed her mother, Elle and her father haven’t stayed long in any one place, so she’s looking forward to the stability of boarding school. Although she’s shy about making friends, her artistic roommate, Pixie, helps her out. Handsome Brian starts coming to nearly all of her classes, but she can’t tell if he’s romantically interested in her or not. Meanwhile, she learns that a serial killer may be in the area. Odd events begin to occur. Someone puts a black ribbon, the kind her mother used to wear, in her locker. Brian keeps showing up everywhere she goes. Is someone stalking her or maybe Pixie? What does Elle’s father have to do with it? Lindsey writes in a matter-of-fact style with nearly every sentence a declarative statement, lending the narrative a choppy, Dragnet-like feel. It seems appropriate to the plot, however, especially when events foreshadow a serious threat to Elle and her friends from someone who may be closer than she suspects. The author stretches plausibility far beyond the breaking point to set up the required confrontation scene at the end, however, dealing the novel a fatal blow.

A decent crime story that’s hamstrung by its ending. (Suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4405-6389-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Merit Press

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion.

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LONG WAY DOWN

After 15-year-old Will sees his older brother, Shawn, gunned down on the streets, he sets out to do the expected: the rules dictate no crying, no snitching, and revenge.

Though the African-American teen has never held one, Will leaves his apartment with his brother’s gun tucked in his waistband. As he travels down on the elevator, the door opens on certain floors, and Will is confronted with a different figure from his past, each a victim of gun violence, each important in his life. They also force Will to face the questions he has about his plan. As each “ghost” speaks, Will realizes how much of his own story has been unknown to him and how intricately woven they are. Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending. There is considerable symbolism, including the 15 bullets in the gun and the way the elevator rules parallel street rules. Reynolds masterfully weaves in textured glimpses of the supporting characters. Throughout, readers get a vivid picture of Will and the people in his life, all trying to cope with the circumstances of their environment while expressing the love, uncertainty, and hope that all humans share.

This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion. (Verse fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3825-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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