A girl’s unwanted oracular powers mean she can’t make friends or even go out in public, as she cannot stop herself from answering any question she hears.
Aria, 17, is the latest in a long line of oracles, beginning with the original Erythraean Sibyl in ancient times. Her grandmother also was an oracle, although the gift—curse, as Aria sees it—skipped her mother. If she hears any question, from any source, even as she walks down her crowded high school hallways, she must answer, normally with a cryptic statement or rhyme. Telling unpleasant and unasked-for truths to anyone within earshot makes Aria a pariah, although popular Jade treats her with compassion. When Jade’s found murdered, Aria finds herself caught between Jade’s two boyfriends, Will and Alex, both suspects in the case. Warned away from each boy by the other, Aria, who can’t understand her own prophecies, nevertheless finds herself drawn to Will and tries to work with him to uncover the truth. Although readers probably won’t have too much difficulty in discerning who the real killer might be, Pauley keeps the pages flipping. She paints a fascinating portrait of Aria, both her insecurities and eventually her courage. By giving readers occasional glimpses into the mind of the killer, she raises the stakes for Aria.
A well-written character study and thriller all in one. (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)