WE MADE IT ALL UP

A polished tale that is twisted and disturbing.

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 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

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

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

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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. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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