A girl joins a traditional secret murder game in her snooty boarding school only to find that the game might be more real than anyone had intended.
Cate attends the elite private academy located on the Welsh island that her nouveau riche parents have inherited. The white teen’s not at the genius level of so many of the other students, but she makes it into the Game anyway. Every year the Assassins’ Guild holds a game in which one member secretly becomes the Killer and stages fake murders of the other players. It’s all completely secretive and elaborate, and Cate is proud to be in it. But when biracial (part-Jamaican, part-Irish) Vaughan, a childhood friend, shows up as a new student and manages to gain late acceptance into the Guild, Cate begins to worry. Computer-whiz Vaughan sets up an undetectable social network in the school, and someone Cate knows only by the screen name Skulk begins to taunt her. When an actual death occurs in the Game, things become all too real. What is Vaughan really up to, and why has he apparently followed Cate to the school? Through Cate’s present-tense narration, McKay keeps things ambiguous so that readers will continue guessing until the true culprit is revealed in the climactic scene. Her witty, self-deprecating voice captures the thrill of belonging and the complicated emotions that come with new money.
Smart, edge-of-the-seat thrills. (Thriller. 12-18)