A reluctant psychic stumbles across a murder most foul in this debut YA novel.
The aptly named Jules Verity comes from a family of “gifted” women. Her grandmother reads auras, her mother reads objects, and Jules makes psychic predictions. Unfortunately, she blurts out prophecies that are often ill-timed and difficult to understand (for example, “the Hepplewhite hides the boogers”). Jules needs a summer job and winds up playing the Mad Maid of Kent at Tudor Times, a local Renaissance-themed, dinner-theater experience. Jules’ random predictions align perfectly with her role as a crazy psychic nun, and she gets to work in proximity to her longtime crush, the swoon-worthy Grayson Chandler. The good news: Grayson is handsome and loves The Princess Bride. The bad news: he thinks Jules is nuts, and he already has the perfect girlfriend, Bree Blair. Yet Jules’ concerns about her love life take a back seat when she stumbles across a body in a secret passageway. The body quickly disappears, and no one believes her until another one is discovered and Jules becomes a target and suspect. Grayson, a Tudor Times knight-in-training, gets the task of guarding Jules, although it turns out it may be her heart that needs protection. The novel is a sweet and entertaining concoction despite the presence of murder and intrigue. Jules is a funny, often cringeworthy heroine who believes her tendency to let loose bizarre prophecies makes her a freak. Swap out Jules’ supernatural talents for body issues or acne and the reader has a relatable and archetypal teen. Held does an admirable job of crossing genres; the budding romance between Grayson and Jules is enjoyable to watch unfold, while Held’s murder mystery is a satisfying whodunit. The setting at a Medieval Times-like destination in a town called Lunevale adds another dose of humor. Held incorporates a quirky cast of characters, such as Floyd the Keeper and King Henry VIII, re-enactors who spend their lives in character and provide subtle foils to Jules, who may not be the crazy one after all.
A frothy tale that mixes a whodunit and a teen romance with knights and prophecies.