THE KILLER IN ME

An additional purchase even where killer thrillers are king.

Nina’s not a killer, but she dreams of one every night.

Vermonter Nina Barrows, 17, was adopted by her single, lesbian, lawyer mother before Nina turned 1. Each night for as long as the black-haired, pale-skinned teen can remember, she’s experienced life from the perspective of “the boy,” including his memories of the “Bad Days,” when his father committed suicide. Since she realized these visions were not the norm, Nina has told no one what she’s seen, especially when the boy started hurting animals and graduated to killing people. She deals with it by trying not to sleep. When her plot to stop his next murder before it happens is discovered by her former best friend, strong, smart, handsome, white Warren, she enlists his help. Things go wrong in just such a way that neither is sure Nina’s visions are 100 percent true. Tracking the probable killer to the New Mexico desert, they plan a trip to visit Nina’s birth mother, part Navajo, who also lives out west. They hope to prove Nina’s dreams and expose a serial killer…but Nina learns shocking secrets about her past when she gets too close. Nina and Warren share narrative duties in Harrison’s debut, a tame, unsurprising parapsychological thriller. Neither voice is distinct, and twists are either telegraphed too early or just not twisty enough to increase interest.

An additional purchase even where killer thrillers are king. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2799-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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

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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Close Quickview