Come for the mind-reading spies; stay for the unlikely duo that’s unable to trust each other. (Paranormal adventure. 12-16)

MIND BLIND

A boy gifted with exceptional mind-reading abilities and the sister of the girl he helped murder form a tenuous alliance.

Ciaran Bain comes from a line of mind readers who work as spies for hire, hiding their talents from the outside world. But he’s the weakest of the fourth generation, because he’s highly sensitive; crowds overwhelm him due to the flood of emotions, and when someone touches him, it’s even worse. When his family enlists him and his cousins to kidnap a girl, Bain aims to prove himself but makes a dire mistake: The target ends up dead. In an attempt to salvage the mission, he searches the girl’s home, only to be confronted by her younger sister, Lucy. Bain needs Lucy to find the information he seeks, and Lucy isn’t going to let the possible killer of her sister out of her sight—not until she finds out more or takes revenge. Don builds a slow but tightly constructed bond between Bain and Lucy, anchoring the action-packed plot with their relationship, detailed between alternating perspectives. Though the pace is brisk and exciting, though, the reveal of the connection between their two families is clichéd. Ultimately, it’s the tug-of-war relationship between Bain and Lucy that elevates this thrill ride.

Come for the mind-reading spies; stay for the unlikely duo that’s unable to trust each other. (Paranormal adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-178250-053-7

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Kelpiesteen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills.

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

A group of teens stranded in a snowstorm discovers a murderer in their midst.

While traveling on the highway to a state theater competition, Nell and her friends Min, Raven, Adam, and Jermaine are caught in a dangerous blizzard. Their teacher, Mrs. McElroy, who is driving the minivan, decides to stop for the night at the run-down and shady-looking Travel Inn and Out. The motel is labyrinthine and spooky, with dingy corridors and walls adorned with moldering kitsch. Nell and the gang meet another group of kids who are also stranded by the storm, making fast friends. A game of Two Truths and a Lie starts out flirty and fun but devolves into something more sinister when one slip of paper reads “I like to watch people die,” and “I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.” The snow falls and the winds howl, and soon power and cell service are lost, cutting off the motel patrons from the outside world. As the first victim is discovered and the body count begins to grow, the terror becomes palpable. Everyone at the motel seems to have an insidious secret: Will Nell be able to uncover the killer before they strike again? An homage to Agatha Christie, Henry’s locked-room mystery is tautly plotted, with quick-moving nail-biting chapters, relatable characters, and a deftly wrought setting that paradoxically manages to feel both claustrophobic and sprawling. Nell is White; there is diversity among the secondary characters.

An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills. (Mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-32333-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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