There aren’t clues enough to make this a mystery, but thriller fans should enjoy it.

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THE RULES

A superrich but neglected teen mourns his equally shy sister and decides to get revenge on the teens he blames for her death.

August knows his absent parents care more for their wealthy lifestyle than they do for their children. They supply him and Alexa with abundant cash, planting the teens in a wealthy community north of San Francisco and leaving them there. When Alexa drowns in a swimming pool, August dwells on the disrespect and injuries she suffered from their fellow high school students. He plans a party in an abandoned cannery and invites his victims. They will all participate in a scavenger hunt with individualized prizes. Innocent Robin inadvertently crashes the party, and Kyle doesn’t seem to belong there either. Events quickly go awry when teens start to disappear. Readers know they’ve been murdered, but the teens don’t realize that until later, with August swearing he didn’t do it—but the teens keep dying. Holder and Viguié keep the action churning along as they bounce from teen to teen for different perspectives on the action, sometimes recording a murder with appropriate gore, sometimes an escape. Many of the personalities tend toward stereotypes; the focus here is on thrills rather than on character development. Though there’s blood enough for horror, there’s nothing supernatural about it.

There aren’t clues enough to make this a mystery, but thriller fans should enjoy it. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74100-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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