Paranormal Activity meets The Exorcist in this chilling, well-crafted tale of a black teen girl’s struggle to make sense of...

POSSESSION

From the Diary of a Haunting series , Vol. 2

A terrifying illness tied to the occult threatens the life of a black girl who blogs about beauty.

Fifteen-year-old Laetitia writes a popular blog about what she calls “divanation,” or making herself up like a diva—which she aspires to be. But when she loses her voice and begins to feel ill, Laetitia’s hair and makeup tips give way to increasingly dark entries about mysterious burning pains on her skin and graphic visions of death and torture. Laetitia tries to shift her focus to a racially charged police shooting in her community and the protests that follow, but the illness worsens. When doctors dismiss Laetitia’s problems as psychological, Laetitia, her mom, and her grandmother look to their Christian faith and a local voodoo practitioner for answers. Laetitia wonders if something demonic has taken over her body—or perhaps it’s something benevolent. Laetitia’s ordeal is told primarily through her “found” online journal. The blog posts, written in a pitch-perfect black teen girl’s voice, are accompanied by police and social-services reports, hospital records, and eerie black-and-white photographs. The collection of documents is putatively edited by the fictional scholar of the paranormal “Montague Verano.” Laetitia’s story, the second in the Diary of a Haunting series, is unpredictable, mesmerizing, and scarily realistic.

Paranormal Activity meets The Exorcist in this chilling, well-crafted tale of a black teen girl’s struggle to make sense of horrifying forces within her. (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6441-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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