Boston-area high school junior Wylie Lang is in danger of losing everything she loves.
Her beloved, brilliant, war-photographer mother died in a car accident four months ago, and her best friend, Cassie, seems to be going rapidly off the rails. Suffering from acute anxiety, Wylie is unable to go to school and is stuck at home with her unsympathetic twin brother and her father, “a hard-core nerd scientist who lives entirely in his head.” When Cassie’s boyfriend gets a troubling text message from Cassie, Wylie manages to conquer her agoraphobia and accompanies Jasper on a desperate drive to an abandoned summer camp in northern Maine, where Cassie is being held by a mysterious group. In this story, no one is who they appear to be, and few adults can be trusted. Wylie, Cassie, and Jasper (all evidently white) become pawns in a complex charade involving the attempted hijacking of Dr. Lang’s research by defense contractors who see profit in his discovery of rare emotional intelligence in a few research subjects, known as "outliers," including Wylie herself. At times the plot, like the Maine woods, thickens to a point of impenetrability, and the twists become far-fetched. Wylie’s present-tense account is smooth and well-paced, however, if not strikingly original.
Readers who are willing to suspend disbelief will enjoy this action-packed psychological thriller. (Thriller. 12-16)