FOREVER, AGAIN

A contemporary white teenager becomes obsessed with a 1987 murder after she discovers that she is the reincarnation of one of its principals.

All her life Lily Bennet has had violent nightmares. It is only when she moves back to her dad’s hometown that she realizes through a hypnosis session with a local therapist that she is the reincarnation of Amber Greeley, a girl who supposedly murdered her boyfriend and then killed herself. Amazingly, her new crush, Cole, has learned that he is the reincarnation of Amber’s boyfriend. He is also, helpfully, a future FBI agent–in-training with (highly contrived) access to the original murder file, so with him, Lily tries to clear Amber’s name. The investigation turns deadly when the two learn that their own family members may have been complicit. Alternate chapters from Amber’s point of view reveal what really happened in 1987. The occasional 1980s clothing and movie references are the only bright spots in a cliché-ridden text in which this is a representative exchange: “He’s trash. His whole family is trash, and I will not have my granddaughter associating with the likes of them!” Even if readers can get past the boilerplate dialogue and convenient coincidences, the identity of the killer and circumstances of the murders are so preposterous that no amount of suspended disbelief will help them ring true.

Skip . (Paranormal thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0009-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more