When readers reach the sequel-promising ending, their feeling will be more weariness than excitement.

READ REVIEW

WICKED GAMES

From the Wicked Games series , Vol. 1

A novel that feels inspired by nighttime soaps like Revenge.

Carter and Lilah’s romance began sweetly when they were high school freshmen. By the time they’re seniors on the verge of graduation, though, Lilah’s unstable emotions and Carter’s inability to deal with her have created distance between them—a distance that is filled by the sexy, alluring Jules. Carter has a one-night stand with her and wants more. So does Jules, but they both know nothing can happen while Lilah’s in the picture. But when Carter breaks up with Lilah, it predictably sends her spiraling out of control. Lilah stalks and humiliates Jules, keying her car and airing a sexually explicit video Jules made at graduation. Carter and Jules think they’ve escaped when it’s time to head off to college at the end of the summer, but it’s really just given Lilah time to plot her ultimate revenge. And to achieve that, someone will die. Beyond the trite plot and stereotyped characters, the most grievous sin is the writing itself: Perspective shifts occur frequently within chapters; dialogue and description are stilted; and there are head-scratching gaps in logic.

When readers reach the sequel-promising ending, their feeling will be more weariness than excitement. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-219237-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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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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A fast-paced, plot-driven page-turner for fans of darker mysteries.

THE LOST

A teen fights to survive in the midst of a mystery not unlike the ones she enjoys reading.

In the small town of Mauveton, 11 teenagers have disappeared in the past six months. The police seem to be writing them off as runaways, but introverted 16-year-old crime enthusiast Piper and her friend Hazel believe there is more to the story. The girls decide to investigate the disappearances by following in the footsteps of the missing teens right before they supposedly ran away. While hanging out at the local lake where most of the town’s teens spend their free time during the summer, they run into a couple of wealthy local college boys. They soon discover the truth: Locked away in a hidden compound filled with horrific surprises, Piper has to find the will to survive and make it back to her parents alive, especially since they already lost one daughter. Preston (You Will Be Mine, 2018, etc.) weaves a terrifying tale with unexpected friendships, romance, and surprising twists. Most characters are assumed white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters. While the unforeseen twists and unexpected ending make this an intriguing read, the story moves very quickly, leaving little room for relationships and characters to develop believably.

A fast-paced, plot-driven page-turner for fans of darker mysteries. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5226-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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