Six legally emancipated, culturally and racially diverse teens share a luxury house in Venice Beach, but the once-tightknit group is drifting apart, and their only hope for coming together is breaking through the multiple lies, coverups, and conspiracies twisting through their lives.
In this sequel to Emancipated (2015), Reyes presents a slew of characters with a thickly woven fabric of stories to keep straight, and each of these characters has at least some element of a horrific past. While there’s enough story here for at least two books, Reyes is compact but artful with her writing, particularly with the dialogue, which naturally captures slang and diction from different cultures and manages not to seem forced or expository even when dealing with scenarios that may seem more befitting a vintage crime series than a modern teen novel. It’s sometimes confusing, sometimes difficult, with a tangle of plot threads that even includes one literal cliffhanger and a daring escape from quicksand, but it’s ultimately rewarding for its simply told complicated story. And though its tone and pace would be right at home with crime classics, the novel offers a more colorful world than can be found in most of those old books, drawing from the author’s knowledge of Mexico City, Manchester, England, and Los Angeles, and reflecting different nationalities, cultures, and different races within them, each with inherent humanity, and largely unburdened by tokenism.
The juxtaposition of rounded characters with outrageous situations gives readers just enough of a base to stand on before the story runs off with them. (Thriller. 14-18)