After best friend Kevin is killed while street racing with him on motorcycles, Alex is wracked by grief, anger and guilt—until he meets Rachel.
Alex, suicidal, is sent to an Oklahoma treatment facility/summer camp that’s surrounded by a high chain-link fence and monitored by cameras, but otherwise seems oddly unsupervised. Alex first encounters Rachel, apparently a volunteer at the camp, when he sees her ex-boyfriend, Danny, not a camper, assaulting her. He feels an immediate, almost magnetic attraction to her and rushes to her defense. A relationship quickly develops, and Alex discovers that she’s suffered from a lifelong, nearly lethal heart condition, culminating with recent major surgery, which she’s—strangely—concealing from him. It’s not clear how, with her severe health problems, she even had the wherewithal to develop her abusive relationship with Danny. Later, Danny (somehow) finds his way back into the camp and attacks her even more brutally but, remarkably, Alex is there again to help her. Characters are, sadly, way too stock and even Alex’s first-person narration fails to push believable life into him; his grief effectively amounts to his mostly feeling very sorry for himself. While a Twilight Zone–esque paranormal twist the title hints at may intrigue readers, its predictability is disappointing.
A slightly unusual, only-average angst-ridden romance with a few too-convenient plot twists. (Fiction. 13 & up)