UNLOCKED by Margo Kelly


Age Range: 12 - 16
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Hannah’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and frightening following a session with a hypnotist.

When the white teen’s hallucinations cause her to crash her car, injuring two friends and killing another, her mother fears that the family history of mental illness is to blame. Her deteriorating behavior alienates her from her friends and her boyfriend and forces her to seek new companionship with the school’s oddballs. While her psychiatrist believes she is suffering from schizophrenia, her new friends offer alternate theories, including demon possession, mind control, and simple harassment. But a camera set up in her room captures a stranger leading her into deeper hypnosis and directing her to do unspeakable things. While the mystery that’s thus set up should be engaging, it is all but destroyed by too-detailed descriptions, wooden dialogue, and a plethora of plot holes. Her mother’s negligence in the face of her daughter’s obvious distress is inexplicable. Further, Hannah’s behavior is only partially explained by the trauma. She alternates between extreme emotional outbursts and adamant refusal to be her own advocate. One bright spot is her new crush, much-pierced Eugene (with hinted-at but entirely unexplored Native American heritage). His quirky independence and willingness to accept Hannah, flaws and all, are endearing.

An engaging mystery with hints of supernatural and romance is marred by mediocre writing. (Supernatural thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4405-9359-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Merit Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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