A supernaturally tinged whodunit that will enrapture mystery fans.

WINTER OF THE WOLF

A teenager becomes obsessed with the mystery of her brother’s death in this YA novel.

Handler’s remarkable story pulls readers into the swirling mind of Bean Hanes,a 15-year-old Minnesotan who found her “soul mate and favorite brother,” Sam, dead in his bedroom, shortly after an accident in which he hit a deer with his car.Sam is present throughout the story in Bean’s rich, yet tortured, memories, and she reflects on his deep curiosity about the Indigenous Inuit people; the teenager identified deeply with Inuit culture and even wanted to be buried in accordance with Inuit practices. Although his death is ruled a suicide, Bean can’t accept it, and she and her best friend, Julie, go on a mission to uncover the truth. The mystery is peppered with curious and sometimes conflicting details about who Sam really was and how he may have died. As Bean’s grief becomes deeper, she looks for answers in the spiritual realm, and the story’s mystical elements (including departed spirits, totem animals, and shamanic rituals) combine with standard sleuthing to create a solid mystery. For example, Bean has a recurring, meaningful dream about a storm and an open window in Sam’s room, and some pieces of physical evidence, such as an unfamiliar camouflage belt that was found with Sam’s body, raise intriguing questions. Bean and Julie piece together a complex list of possible scenarios and suspects, including Sam’s close friend Skip, who was expected at their house that evening but didn’t show up, didn’t attend Sam’s funeral, and suddenly dropped out of their lives. Over the course of this breathless narrative, Handler keeps readers guessing at the solution until the very end.

A supernaturally tinged whodunit that will enrapture mystery fans.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62634-718-2

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2020

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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