A quirky teen sharpens her sleuthing skills and endures boarding school drama as she attempts to solve mysteries old and new.
Cally’s sister Clare disappeared from the grounds of swanky St. Bede’s Academy 10 years ago, and now, for reasons even she can’t articulate, Cally has chosen to attend the prestigious boarding school herself. Arriving on campus midyear as a scholarship student, Cally struggles to fit in with her super-privileged classmates, who regularly flout administration rules—sneaking out after last bed-check for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll—but adhere to a strict, self-created code that seems random at best. Cally quickly becomes obsessed with the disappearance of her roommate Helen’s previous roommate, Iris Liang. When Helen, Cally and several other friends discover Iris’ decomposing corpse in a cave in the creepy woods off campus, paranoia and rumors grip the school, rendering St. Bedes’ typically hothouse atmosphere claustrophobic. Could Iris’ death be connected with Clare’s? How utterly unexpected! Meanwhile, Cally’s eventful love life—she’s caught between Big Man on Campus Alex and brooding, witty Jack—threatens to crowd out her attempts to resolve the girls’ mysterious disappearances. Exposition-heavy and packed with credulity-straining coincidences and red herrings, the plot lumbers unsatisfyingly toward resolution.
Quasi-supernatural murder mystery? Sexy teen noir? Boarding school bildungsroman? This mess of a novel doesn’t know what it wants to be. (Mystery. 14-17)