Literally haunted by her actions, a bully must make amends—or else.
Samantha fails a spelling test, so her parents punish her by refusing to let her go on a day trip to Rocky River Adventure Park with her friends. Rather than study harder, Samantha takes it out on classmate Rachel—her ex–best friend, whom she relentlessly bullies due to a past betrayal. A choice encounter outside of school gives Samantha an opportunity to rid herself of Rachel once and for all. She pushes her into Lake Lamont. Rachel doesn’t resurface. Guilt wracks Samantha at school the next day until she sees Rachel alive and well. But how did Rachel get out of the lake when Samantha watched her die? And how can Samantha make Rachel stop haunting her in revenge? Suspense nearly drips from this spooky page-turner, as wet handprints, hallucinations, and relentless phone calls lead Samantha back to the scene of her crime. Particularly tense scenes dip into verse territory, heightening the drama. Unfortunately, the line breaks in these portions feel more contrived than poetic. While Samantha’s first-person narration is soaked through with self-pity, her backstory unspools to round out the human behind the bully. Supporting characters come up flat and presume a white default. For all its writing flaws, however, genre fiction seekers will nonetheless devour this thrilling redemption arc.
Chilling but shallow. (Horror. 8-12)