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Sufficiently thrilling.

An aspiring journalist investigates the urban legend surrounding mysterious disappearances of students at her school.

After losing out on an internship to fellow classmate Emma Morgan, high school senior Kennedy Carter looks for the next great exposé that will earn her the New England regional Excellence in Emerging Journalism Award. She dreams of getting out of her little Massachusetts town and becoming an investigative reporter. For their final project in journalism class, Kennedy and her best friend, school photographer Ravi Burman, decide to profile members of their school community and probe the curse haunting Maplefield High. Kennedy begins by researching students who disappeared in recent years—but everything takes a turn for the worse when Emma goes missing and is later found dead, supposedly by suicide. Certain that Emma was murdered, Kennedy and Ravi risk everything to uncover the truth behind the curse threatening Maplefield students, a truth which is contained in the anonymously authored side story, “The Making of a Monster,” that is interspersed throughout the novel. Kennedy’s self-righteousness is tempered by Ravi’s levelheaded understanding, but asexual Kennedy fears their budding romance could ruin years of friendship. This mystery in the vein of Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (2020) is well paced, but the resolution may strike readers knowledgeable about mystery conventions as not playing fair. Most characters are cued as White; pansexual Ravi’s mother is White, and his father is cued as a British immigrant of Indian descent.

Sufficiently thrilling. (Mystery. 13-17)

Pub Date: June 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64397-219-0

Page Count: 228

Publisher: BHC Press

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Chilling and suspenseful, with just the right number of twists.

If your friend’s dead body falls in the woods and nobody is around to see which of you pulled the trigger, what will your story be?

In an after-party haze of booze and drugs, five white, wealthy best friends go hunting in the River Point woods—only four return. With one of the boys, Grant, shot dead in an apparent accident and no one willing to admit responsibility, Logan, Henry, John Michael, and Shep vow to keep silent in order to protect their remaining group and the killer among them. But secrets have a way of burrowing through bonds, and the tightknit foursome, dubbed the River Point Boys, has already started to unravel. Meanwhile, budding photojournalist and white senior Kate Marino is interning at the district attorney’s office, where her boss is assigned the River Point case. The DA wants the case to disappear quietly, but Kate is determined see justice done. As she assists with examining the boys’ behavior during interrogations and in person, she discovers that nothing about the case, the suspects, or even her own connection to the boys is what it seems. The narration alternates between Kate’s fervent suspicions and a River Point Boy’s cold manipulation, leaving readers to wade through the many vengeful motives that spill from a wellspring of affluence, privilege, and corruption.

Chilling and suspenseful, with just the right number of twists. (Mystery. 13-17)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3089-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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From the Similars series , Vol. 2

An overall entertaining read.

In this sequel to The Similars (2018), tensions rise as the villains reveal a ploy to exact revenge on the Ten and their families and ultimately take over the world.

When Emma Chance returns to her elite boarding school, Darkwood Academy, for her senior year, things are different: Her best friend, Ollie Ward, is back while Levi Gravelle, Ollie’s clone and Emma’s love interest, has been imprisoned on Castor Island. More importantly, Emma is coming to terms with the contents of a letter from Gravelle which states that she is Eden, a Similar created to replace the original Emma, who died as a child. To complicate matters further, other clones—who are not Similars—infiltrate Darkwood, and Emma and her friends uncover a plot that threatens not only the lives of everyone they care about, but also the world as they know it. Hanover wastes no time delving right into the action; readers unfamiliar with the first book may get lost. This duology closer is largely predictable and often filled with loopholes, but the fast-paced narrative and one unexpected plot twist make for an engaging ride. As before, most of the primary characters read as white, and supporting characters remain underdeveloped. Despite its flaws and often implausible turns of events, the novel calls attention to larger questions of identity, selfhood, and what it means to be human.

An overall entertaining read. (Dystopia. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6513-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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