Is this a psychological or paranormal novel? Readers will decide as they explore the possible past lives of a girl who claims that she really isn’t who or what people think she is.
Missing for nearly a year, Annaliese remains certain that she is actually a razor-wielding monster who takes girls’ lives and then their places until she moves on to another. Returned home to her stoic father and hysterically possessive mother, Annaliese stays so distant from her parents that she refers to them as “the mom” and “the dad.” She connects only with Dex, the strange boy next door, who takes videos of people’s deaths. She keeps finding intriguing poetry signed “Annaliese” that often connects to events she experiences, but she hides these. Convinced that she’s actually a girl called Anna, an unpleasant boy named Eric stalks her, as does Logan, the popular jock Annaliese once loved but now finds annoying. Although the writing remains interesting throughout, the plot unfolds at such a glacial pace that readers may become frustrated. They identify scenes from Annaliese’s possible past lives mainly from the changing character names, and these become so numerous that readers may need to chart them to keep track. Late in the book, the plot begins to cohere, but many readers may have given up by then.
Nevertheless, fans of gruesome paranormal fiction may enjoy something this original. (Suspense. 14 & up)