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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more