Comfortingly familiar page-turning suspense.

DON'T LET IN THE COLD

A Tahoe blizzard is the setting of Parrack’s debut.

Seventeen-year-old Lottie, a White English girl who’s been repeatedly let down by her flighty Mum, isn’t happy about spending the night alone in a remote cabin with her quiet, nature-loving new stepsister, 15-year-old Black American Jade, while their parents go on their honeymoon. They’ve only met three times before and haven’t exactly clicked. Then again, it’s only one night. How bad could it be? Then the power goes out and the stranger arrives. Alex, described generically as Asian, is tall and charming and claims to have lost his way—he’s just a boy walking his dog. However, his story is full of holes, and before long Lottie suspects he’s hiding something. Just as she confronts him, a fire breaks out in the cabin, and Lottie, Jade, and Alex are forced out into the cold and snow with only each other to rely on; one night on their own turns into a dayslong struggle for survival. It’s unfortunate that encounters with a bear, a mountain lion, and an avalanche are nothing compared to the human threat stalking them through the wild white wilderness. Lottie’s first-person narration is generic, but the action is fast-paced, with just enough romantic tension between Lottie and Alex to keep it interesting, while the tentative nature of Lottie and Jade’s new sister relationship fades quickly as they learn to rely on and appreciate each other.

Comfortingly familiar page-turning suspense. (Thriller. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-676-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Mouths have never run so dry at the idea of thirst.

DRY

When a calamitous drought overtakes southern California, a group of teens must struggle to keep their lives and their humanity in this father-son collaboration.

When the Tap-Out hits and the state’s entire water supply runs dry, 16-year-old Alyssa Morrow and her little brother, Garrett, ration their Gatorade and try to be optimistic. That is, until their parents disappear, leaving them completely alone. Their neighbor Kelton McCracken was born into a survivalist family, but what use is that when it’s his family he has to survive? Kelton is determined to help Alyssa and Garrett, but with desperation comes danger, and he must lead them and two volatile new acquaintances on a perilous trek to safety and water. Occasionally interrupted by “snapshots” of perspectives outside the main plot, the narrative’s intensity steadily rises as self-interest turns deadly and friends turn on each other. No one does doom like Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead, 2018, etc.)—the breathtakingly jagged brink of apocalypse is only overshadowed by the sense that his dystopias lie just below the surface of readers’ fragile reality, a few thoughtless actions away. He and his debut novelist son have crafted a world of dark thirst and fiery desperation, which, despite the tendrils of hope that thread through the conclusion, feels alarmingly near to our future. There is an absence of racial markers, leaving characters’ identities open.

Mouths have never run so dry at the idea of thirst. (Thriller. 13-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8196-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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