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A somber tale that will make teens think twice.

Three dead teens “[s]ettle in for the world’s longest detention” in this melancholy ghost story.

Paige Wheeler died at 17 when she fell off the roof of the school during a misguided science experiment. Now trapped on the school grounds as a ghost, Paige spends her time drifting the halls with Brooke and Evan, two other ethereal teens. Paige is troubled by the rumor that she jumped instead of fell, and when she discovers she can inhabit the body of anyone who is thinking about her, she tries to use the ability to clear her name. But many of the attempts backfire, especially when it comes to making her best friend Usha paint a memorial mural of her or getting her “secret” hookup Lucas to admit that he and Paige were together. Paige’s regret that she accepted less than the very best for herself will be a sobering reminder to readers not to take opportunities and relationships for granted. “What if I hadn’t wasted my time—myself—on a guy who was only around for kisses in the trees?” Mostly a moody meditation on adolescent afterlife, the story morphs into a thriller when Paige discovers a vicious secret about one of her fellow spirits, which leads to an unexpectedly transcendent and moving finale.

A somber tale that will make teens think twice. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7150-1

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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A twisty chronicle, filled with equal parts glory and gore, of an outlier who transforms into a modern “final girl.”

A teenager enrolls in a lethal competition to salvage her reputation and repair her broken future.

As the valedictorian of Edgewater Academy, 18-year-old Adina Walker planned to attend Yale University and escape the predictability of suburban Massachusetts, where old money, classism, and casual racism are as ubiquitous as Brooks Brothers. Fortunately, Adina has her best friend, Toni, who is one of the few other Black students on campus. After a long-simmering conflict between Adina and queen bee Esme Alderidge turns physical, Adina’s Yale acceptance is rescinded. Just when all hope seems lost, Adina is invited to participate in the Finish, a high-pressure, exclusive contest sponsored by the town’s ruling blueblood family, the Remingtons. But soon after Adina arrives at Remington Estate, she learns this competition isn’t a test of feminine etiquette—it’s a battle for survival. In this debut thriller that calls to mind the Japanese dystopian film Battle Royale (2000) and the American horror film Ready or Not (2019), power and privilege are depicted as twin evils that decimate empathy and corrupt morality. Adina’s outsider status amplifies the desperate greed and calculated sociopathy of the upper crust. While the worldbuilding is thin in some places, particularly around the dark traditions of the Remingtons and the unquestioning compliance of their sycophants, readers are rewarded with heart-stopping reveals.

A twisty chronicle, filled with equal parts glory and gore, of an outlier who transforms into a modern “final girl.” (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781665922425

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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