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PERCEPTION

A smart, paranormal mystery ride.

This first sequel to Clarity (2011) delivers an even more involving, polished and downright nifty mystery.

Clare still lives at home with her family of psychics, but this episode emphasizes suspense more than the supernatural. She’s torn between ex-boyfriend Justin and hottie newcomer Gabriel (and will decide between them by the end of the book), but now she’s more interested in her new friend Mallory and the disappearance of a local girl. Her mom forbids her to help with the case, but Clare can’t stop herself from investigating. Mallory, a formerly shy girl who seems to be coming out of her shell, struggles to cope with events in their new friendship. Meanwhile, Clare worries that someone might be stalking her. The family’s psychic abilities, especially Clare’s ability to “read” objects, certainly play a part in the narrative, but Harrington more closely follows a standard mystery plot, tossing in some tasty red herrings, sprinkling clues throughout, building suspense and turning the tale at just the right time to keep readers involved. The supernatural element may entice some young readers to the book and then turn them into mystery fans. In any case, the believable characterizations, the suspense and the well-crafted plot twists score.

A smart, paranormal mystery ride. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-23053-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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THE DARE

Unlikely to gain the author any new readers but will appeal to her fans.

Marley, who’s on the cusp of graduating from high school, looks forward to going to college in California, but first, she must endure senior prank week.

What began as a harmless tradition to annoy the hapless school principal has evolved into a more serious series of pranks and dares orchestrated by the five Wilder brothers: Everett, Emmett, Rhett, Garrett, and Truett. Rhett, who’s Marley’s former friend, is leading this year’s pranks and imposing severe consequences on non-participants. When their dare results in tragedy for a group of friends—Marley, Luce, Jesse, and Atlas (Marley’s boyfriend)—they make a pact to keep what happened a secret. Marley continues to be wracked with self-reproach, however, and paranoia and guilt begin to tear the teens’ friendships apart. It’s crucial for readers to approach the book with suspension of disbelief, because the characters sometimes act without clear motivation and at other times seem to understand who’s responsible for events based on very flimsy evidence. The dialogue also becomes repetitive at points. While this may not be Preston’s strongest work, her dedicated followers will find in it the suspenseful approach they love. Luce is cued Latine; Atlas reads Black, and the rest of the characters present white.

Unlikely to gain the author any new readers but will appeal to her fans. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780593704066

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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