A girl tries to cope with her own survival after the deaths of her friends in this psychological—or is it paranormal?—debut suspense tale.
Mara understands that she’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after having survived the collapse of a building that killed her best friend, her boyfriend and his sister. To escape constant memories, the family moves from Rhode Island to Miami, and Mara enrolls in a pricey private school populated by spoiled rich kids. She falls for Noah, ultra-wealthy, British, handsome and perhaps untrustworthy girl-magnet. Her relationship with Noah comprises much of the story, even as Mara keeps seeing her dead friends in the mirror. Meanwhile, Mara tries to cope with a nasty student couple bent on destroying her and with a teacher who hates her for no discernible reason. Add to that her defense-lawyer father, who’s taken on the high-profile trial of the day and the book has one too many subplots, which, along with a bit too much description, leads to its excessive length. Hodkin writes strong prose that engages readers and creates some unusual, attractive characters. She designs an absorbing story that appears to be heading toward an interesting sequel. By the end, readers may be wondering if this is a psychological, paranormal or crime story, adding to the intrigue.Even without advisable cuts, a strong, inventive tale. (Suspense. 12 & up)