THE INNOCENTS

It’s dangerous when a novel references The Great Gatsby; it only begs unfortunate comparisons.

Sensible Alice and rebellious Charlie have just arrived at the Connecticut shore after a whirlwind romance between their just-divorced mother, Maggie, and a filthy rich architect, Richard. It takes no time for them to be caught up in the dreary intrigues and festering secrets of the 1 percent. Charlie hurls herself into the country-club world of their new stepfather, connecting almost instantly with a creepy-yet-charismatic pair of cousins, the dissolute Jude and bitchy Cybill. Alice, though more resistant to the allure of luxury, is drawn to the ruggedly handsome Tommy, whose most recent girlfriend just happens to have been Camilla, Richard’s late daughter, who committed suicide the year before and who bore an uncanny resemblance to—gasp—Alice. Charlie drinks and acts out; Alice alternately moons over Tommy, obsesses over Camilla and questions Maggie and Richard’s past. While Peloquin isn’t a bad writer—her control over a shifting third-person voice that captures both Alice’s reserve and Charlie’s attitude is particularly effective—Fitzgerald she ain’t. Readers will particularly wonder at the unfulfilled role of green-eyed waiter and scholarship student Stan in Charlie’s love quadrangle—until they get to the end and realize that the entire book has been an elongated setup for a series. This Side of Jealousy is scheduled for summer 2013; here’s hoping the characters develop some substance between now and then. (Chick lit/mystery. 12-16)  

 

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59514-582-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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