Bodies pile up around Boone like he's some teenage Jessica Fletcher, straining credulity but not sparking much interest.

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I, WITNESS

If it means putting yourself in danger, do you have to come forward as a witness?

Teenager David Boone and his friend Robbie witness a brutal murder. Boone talks Robbie out of going to the cops, and a few days later, Robbie’s killed in a drive-by. Boone and their friend Andre witness Robbie’s killing, but neither is willing to talk to the cops. When Boone is wounded and Andre killed at Robbie’s funeral, Boone is well and truly scared. Boone’s classmates call him coward; his dad sends him to a therapist. Detective Rylander practically begs him for help, but it takes another, unrelated murder to prompt Boone to come forward as a witness. Award-winning, Canadian writer of teen thrillers McClintock tries her hand at the graphic format with mixed results. Boone’s reasons for not coming forward are complex and interesting, but most of the supporting cast members are one-dimensional. The mystery Boone solves surrounding the unrelated murder will engage more than Boone’s repeated resistance to being a witness. Deas’ scratchy, mostly black-and-white panels look more like sketchbook filler than finished work; the characters are often hard to identify, and their emotions, not to mention ages, are difficult to gauge. However, the use of red as an accent in moments of violence is effective.

Bodies pile up around Boone like he's some teenage Jessica Fletcher, straining credulity but not sparking much interest. (Graphic thriller. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55469-789-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

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THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

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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