Murder turns would-be romance novelist Emmy into the heroine of her own romantic mystery.
The worst Emmy Danvers, a white 16-year-old, has faced is the long string of losers her mom has dated since her dad left them while her mom was still pregnant and the tension of unrequited feelings for good white friend Ben. But while she’s working on another story idea for a romance in a coffee shop, an unknown elderly man warns her that she—along with her absent father—is not safe before covertly handing off an encrypted high-tech tablet and promptly dying right on top of her. As in the improbable scenarios of her stories, Emmy, not knowing which adults to trust, brashly accepts the offer of the murdered man’s rich, white teenage grandson, Sebastian, a self-described “Certified Bad Boy,” to attend elite Emptor Academy on a scholarship. Although this is nominally a murder mystery, the suspense is mild, as Emmy spends more time navigating her new high school (particularly interactions with mean girls) and reconciling her feelings for both Ben and Sebastian (this is a romance, after all) than trying to track down her missing father, access the tablet’s hidden contents, and stay out of danger. The author adds diversity through Emmy’s circle of new and old friends and Emptor’s instructors. A heightened conclusion with unresolved answers sets the scene for a sequel.
For readers who like a light serving of mystery with a side of romance. (Mystery. 14-17)