Tess knows that her transition to the elite preparatory school Thorn Abbey will be challenging, but when she falls for the mysterious and tortured Max, everything becomes hauntingly more difficult.
Tess, while shy and bookish, seems determined to find her way in her new school. However, her indomitable spirit is quickly shanghaied by an overwhelming obsession with the handsome and moody Max. Very little digging is required to unearth the terrible tragedy that haunts Max: the death of his girlfriend, Becca. Tess’ roommate, Devon, reveals that Becca was also her old roommate. Rather than seeing this as a bad omen, Tess seems to find the coincidence fortuitous. Devon’s repeated warnings, Max’s own rejections and even ghostly attacks cannot dissuade Tess from her objective: to claim Max as her own. The acknowledgments claim Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca as the book’s inspiration. However, other than a few minor plot points, Ohlin’s story bears little resemblance to the classic work, both in its content and its execution. Tess is more oblivious than tragic, and Max reads as shady rather than mysterious. Add in the stock secondary characters, and the resultant tale is little more than a watered-down ghost of the Hitchcock-worthy mystery.
Not classic. (Suspense. 14 & up)