A polished tale that is twisted and disturbing.

WE MADE IT ALL UP

Kray’s Defile is a place with charm. Just don’t look too closely.

When her father moves them to small-town Montana from Montreal so he can study bats in the nearby caves, high schooler Celeste Bergstein wants only to blend into the background. It’s an opportunity to start over, free from a frightening and abusive relationship with the director of her drama workshop. With her new friend, fey orphan Vivvy Kray, Celeste starts writing stories about a steamy romance between two of their classmates—presumably straight golden boy Joss Thorssen and gay weed dealer Seth Larkin. The lines between fantasy and reality soon begin to blur, and Vivvy arranges for the four of them to get drunk in the woods near the caves. The next day, Joss is found murdered. With no memory of that night, Celeste has to figure out what happened before she ends up taking the fall for the crime. While investigating the caves with Vivvy’s twin brother, Bram, they discover evidence of a long history of sinister activities by a group called the Defilers. Implicit sexual abuse is a recurring theme, as are psychological manipulation and self-harm. A reference to historical crimes against Indigenous people and accusations that undocumented workers at a meatpacking plant were responsible for Joss’ murder contrast with the presumably White cast. The unreliable characters are well drawn, and the dialogue masterfully replicates the teenage voice.

A polished tale that is twisted and disturbing. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-27576-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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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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Intervals of intense suspense and a well-crafted puzzle blend to create a thrill ride of a story.

FIVE SURVIVE

Red Kenny and her friends’ spring break road trip veers off course when they are detained by a sniper.

Since her police captain mother’s murder, Red has been inseparable from Maddy Lavoy, though it’s often difficult for Red to witness the warm family dynamics Maddy and her brother, Oliver, share with their mother, an assistant DA and Red’s late mother’s best friend. Red, the Lavoy siblings, and three other friends—Reyna Flores-Serrano, Arthur Moore, and Simon Yoo—embark in a borrowed RV on a journey to Gulf Shores but instead find themselves in the crosshairs of a long-range rifle held by a man demanding that one of them reveal an important secret. As Red battles internally with her guilt and grief over her mother’s death, her companions become increasingly volatile and paranoid as the group tries to discern whose secret is the one the hostage taker is after. The sometimes-tedious, sometimes-intense moment-by-moment breakdown of events in the 31-foot RV (that seems much smaller as the night wears on) magnifies the claustrophobia. Subtle indications that no one can really be trusted alternate with mind-blowing revelations. Toxic masculinity is often at war with common sense and good judgment, and moral ambiguity abounds. Red, Arthur, and the Lavoy siblings read White; Reyna is Mexican American, and Simon is cued as biracial (Korean and White). (This review has been updated to correct a character’s name.)

Intervals of intense suspense and a well-crafted puzzle blend to create a thrill ride of a story. (maps) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37416-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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