Griffin fleshes out a gripping whodunit with a host of believable teen characters.
Nicole is wealthy, popular and beautiful right up until someone throws acid in her face in the corridor of her high school and just as quickly disappears. Classmate Jay, a talented hacker and perennial social outcast with partially controlled epilepsy, surprises himself by resolving to discover the perpetrator. Could it have been her boyfriend, Dave, who is hiding something and was the last person to be seen with her that day? Or did fellow outsider Angela, who joins forces with Jay, have an axe to grind? How about the school janitor, who keeps a big jug of acid in his office? Or even Nicole herself? Jay’s slightly edgy, self-deprecating voice matches perfectly with his determined and cleverly inquisitive investigative efforts. Readily mocked and dismissed by classmates because of his seizures, he makes a perfect sleuth. Observing others keenly, he remains apart from the drama right up until he falls for Nicole. His hacking activities are both amusing and also surprisingly gratifying. While readers will probably already have judged—and found wanting—the eventually exposed perpetrator, they will still be astonished by the person’s identity.
A taut thriller explores the evolving relationship between two outsider teens, at first defined by their shared defectiveness but later superseding it. (Mystery. 12 & up)