Fiction, March 2020

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus. January 7, 2020. Delacorte Press, 375 p. ISBN: 9780525707974.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 740.

The highly anticipated, #1 New York Times bestselling sequel to One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe‘s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

Sequel to: One of Us is Lying

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Homophobic slur; Mild sexual themes; Sexual assault; Strong language; Underage drinking; Violence; Sexual harassment; Alcohol abuse

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist (November 15, 2019 (Vol. 116, No. 6))
Grades 9-12. A year ago, in One of Us Is Lying (2017), Simon Kelleher, infamous creator of a gossip app, died during detention at Bayview High. Since then, the students in detention with him—nicknamed the Bayview Four—have all been cleared of his murder, graduated, and moved on. But Bayview remembers. At the high school, lesser copycat apps come and go, but nothing sticks until the game arrives as a mass text. The rules are simple: it’s truth or dare. When Phoebe, the first target, doesn’t pick one, her worst secret is leaked. As she teams up with Maeve, the sister of one of the Bayview Four, and her friend Knox, the game intensifies: the dares are getting dangerous, but everyone wants to keep their secrets. McManus offers a companion that, while set in the same sphere as her hit debut, takes entirely different cues, leaving readers new and old with a dizzying array of fresh twists. A nonlinear narrative and breakneck pacing, combined with the tech element and the already-intense high-school atmosphere, make this a thrilling read.

Kirkus Reviews (November 1, 2019)
A dangerous texting game comes to Bayview High in this sequel to One of Us Is Lying (2017). Last year in a San Diego suburb, a gossip app led to a death and inspired weak copycats. Now an anonymous person is sending Truth or Dare messages to the students of Bayview High, and this time no one is safe. If you choose truth (or don’t respond), one of your secrets is revealed. Complete a dare and you’ve passed. The game mostly causes an entertaining stir—until a student winds up dead. Was it an accident, or was it murder? High school juniors Maeve, Phoebe, and Knox find themselves caught up in the mystery of who’s behind the texts. The Bayview Four make appearances, but the compelling heart of the story is the three main characters’ family drama and personal struggles. Maeve thinks she’s having a leukemia relapse, Phoebe slept with her sister’s boyfriend, and Knox interns at a legal aid firm whose staff members are receiving death threats. Shifting perspectives keep the pace steady while McManus (Two Can Keep a Secret, 2019, etc.) deftly weaves in commentary on the justice system, bullying, and slut shaming. Plenty of secrets and surprises will keep readers captivated until the satisfying end. Knox and Phoebe are white, Maeve has Colombian ancestry, and Bayview is a diverse community. A can’t-put-down read. (Thriller. 14-18)

About the Author

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, its sequel One of Us Is Next, and Two Can Keep a Secret. Her work has been published in more than 40 languages.

Her website is www.karenmcmanus.com

Teacher Resources

One of Us is Next on Common Sense Media 

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One of Us is Next on Amazon

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Fiction, January 2020

All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell

All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell. October 29, 2019. HarperTeen, 293 p. ISBN: 9780062852595.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Sadie meets Girl in Pieces in this dark, emotional thriller by acclaimed author Saundra Mitchell.

Something happened to Ava. The curving scar on her face is proof. Ava would rather keep that something hidden—buried deep in her heart and her soul.

But in the woods on the outskirts of town, the traces of someone else’s secrets lie frozen, awaiting Ava’s discovery—and what Ava finds threatens to topple the carefully constructed wall of normalcy that she’s spent years building around her.

Secrets leave scars. But when the secret in question is not your own—do you ignore the truth and walk away? Or do you uncover it from its shallow grave and let it reopen old wounds—wounds that have finally begun to heal?

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Rape, Strong sexual themes, Description of a corpse

 

Reviews

Booklist (October 1, 2019 (Online))
Grades 9-12. Seventeen-year-old Ava wants you to know that the rape she endured at age nine doesn’t define her actions: “I have damage, you have damage. Nobody knows what they’re doing while they’re doing it.” Yet as she tells the story of the winter night she finds a body in the woods, it’s clear that Ava’s carefully structured life has helped her hide her PTSD, rather than confront it. Instead of calling the police, Ava decides to protect the body, a young woman, from further humiliation, eventually investigating the murder with the victim’s online friend Nick. These thriller elements play out the backdrop of Ava’s enclosed, predictable life—shuttling between school and home, between her overprotective mother and her sole friend, Syd—as it starts to change and expand, especially as Ava falls for Hailey, the daughter of the policeman who handled her assault case. Mitchell mixes contemporary drama—the joy of first love, the pain of breaking friendships—with psychological thriller in this insightful, cathartic read. A moving author’s note and contact information for sexual assault helplines are included.

Kirkus Reviews (August 15, 2019)
A teen loner grapples with buried demons as she stumbles on someone else’s secret in the woods. In her latest novel, Mitchell again explores the sexual awakening of adolescent identities—this time against the backdrop of childhood sexual assault. Though hesitant to open up to anyone apart from her best friend, Syd, 17-year-old Ava Parkhurst reveals early on that she was raped at age 9 and visibly scarred for life when her attacker traced “a razor blade finger” down her cheek. As if Ava, a good student who strives to live in the present and not fixate on past trauma, doesn’t have enough challenges—Syd is keeping secrets from her; her father has moved out, leaving her and her mother on their own; and, for the first time, she’s finding herself physically attracted to the daughter of the policeman who, years before, handled her assault case—a walk in the woods one snowy Maine night leads to a harrowing discovery that dangerously tests the confines of Ava’s carefully guarded world. Mitchell’s roller-coaster confessional narrative runs the gamut from teen melodrama between friends and the throes of first love to reckoning with guarded secrets and the psychological fallout from astoundingly brutal acts. Most characters default to white; her love interest is biracial (white Jewish and Korean). A searing, fast-paced whodunit that addresses sexual assault head-on. (author’s note, resources) (Thriller. 14-18)

About the Author

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture-deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training, and hitchhiked from Montana to California. The author of nearly twenty books for tweens and teens, Mitchell’s work includes SHADOWED SUMMER, THE VESPERTINE series, ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK, a novel forthcoming from HarperTEEN and the forthcoming CAMP MURDERFACE series with Josh Berk. She is the editor of three anthologies for teens, DEFY THE DARK, ALL OUT and OUT NOW. She always picks truth; dares are too easy.

Her website is www.saundramitchell.com

Around the Web

All the Things We Do in the Dark on Amazon

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All the Things We Do in the Dark Publisher Page

December 2019, Fiction

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall. September 24, 2019. Viking, 402 p. ISBN: 9781984837011.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, a road appears in the forest. And at the end of it, the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons. Lucy’s game isn’t for the faint of heart. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose….

Sara’s sister disappeared one year ago–and only Sara knows where she is. Becca went to find the ghost of Lucy Gallows and is trapped on the road that leads to her. In the sleepy town of Briar Glen, Lucy’s road is nothing more than local lore. But Sara knows it’s real, and she’s going to find it.

When Sara and her skeptical friends meet in the forest to search for Becca, the mysterious road unfurls before them. All they have to do is walk down it. But the path to Lucy is not of this world, and it has its own rules. Every mistake summons new horrors. Vengeful spirits and broken, angry creatures are waiting for them to slip, and no one is guaranteed safe passage. The only certainty is this: the road has a toll and it will be paid.

Sara knows that if she steps onto the road, she might not come back. But Becca needs her.

And Lucy is waiting.

Potentially Sensitive Areas:Strong language, Violence, Mention of underage drinking, Mention of suicide, Domestic abuse

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2019)
What happened to Becca Donoghue? Sara Donoghue never believed the rumors that her sister, Becca, simply ran away from home with her boyfriend. Becca had been obsessed with Lucy Gallows, the ghost from the 1950s who allegedly haunts their town, and the mysterious road that Lucy traveled on before she disappeared. Before Becca vanished too, the last thing Sara overheard her say was “We know where the road is. We’ve got the keys. That’s all we need to find her. I’m not backing down now. Not after everything we’ve done to get this close.” As the one-year anniversary of Becca’s disappearance approaches, Sara becomes desperate to discover what happened and how it may be related to the real Lucy. The setup is slow and complicated, with many diverse characters, relationships, and supernatural rules. While normally something to be celebrated, this diverse cast feels forced and inauthentic, like moons orbiting the main white protagonist, Sara (Becca is Asian—her ethnicity is never specified—and adopted). When the plot eventually picks up its pace, the story becomes quite engrossing and cleverly moves between its many narrators, characters, and plot twists. If readers can move past the long-winded and complicated setup, they will enjoy this mashup of The X-Files and the The Blair Witch Project, but those seeking a handy conclusion will likely be disappointed. A mixed bag for patient older teens. (Mystery. 15-18)

Publishers Weekly (September 16, 2019)
Local legend holds that the nearby woods are home to the ghost of Lucy Gallows, who vanished decades ago outside Briar Glen, Mass. While searching for Lucy, Sara Donoghue’s sister, Becca, disappeared a year earlier. Now, mysterious texts point Sara and her friends on the same harrowing journey in hopes of finding Becca. Traveling a supernatural road through a deadly darkness, they enter a world filled with myriad terrors and dangers, where breaking the rules leads to a horrible fate. In this chilling tale, Marshall (I Am Still Alive) ties together regional folklore, urban legends, and ghost stories to craft an exquisitely unsettling dark fantasy. Framed as a series of post-incident interviews and supplemented with found camera footage, videos, and texts, this multilayered, unpredictable nail-biter reveals the truth one fragment at a time. The characters, including queer, racially diverse, and variously abled teens, are well-developed, amplifying readers’ engagement in the high stakes. The nightmarish setting, frequent surprises, and inherent ambiguity will appeal to fans of Seanan McGuire’s books. Ages 12-up.

About the Author

Kate Alice Marshall started writing before she could hold a pen properly, and never stopped. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a chaotic menagerie of pets and family members, and ventures out in the summer to kayak and camp along Puget Sound. I Am Still Alive was her YA debut, followed by Rules for Vanishing.

Her website is katemarshallbooks.com.

Around the Web

Rules for Vanishing on Amazon

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Fiction, November 2019

His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Re-imagined edited by Dahlia Adler. September 10, 2019. Flatiron Books, 470 p. ISBN: 9781250302779.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Thirteen of YA’s most celebrated names reimagine Edgar Allan Poe’s most surprising, unsettling, and popular tales for a new generation.

Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining “Ligeia), Kendare Blake (“Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Amanda Lovelace (“The Raven”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Drugs, Strong language, Strong sexual themes, Underage drinking, Transphobia

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews starred (August 1, 2019)
A genre-bending collection of 13 twists on Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Editor Adler (contributor: It’s a Whole Spiel, 2019, etc.) does Poe proud with this creepy and atmospheric set of stories inspired by a handful of his most well-known works. All are well worth reading, but there are quite a few standouts, including Rin Chupeco’s (contributor: Hungry Hearts) ebullient “The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay,” in which an effervescent Filipina trans woman joins up with her dashing new half-French, half-Filipino boyfriend to solve the baffling murders of two American tourists on the island of Boracay. Lamar Giles’ (The Last Last-Day-of-Summer) unsettling “The Oval Filter” features African American football star Tariq, whose dead girlfriend’s distorted images appear on his phone—and they seem to be trying to tell him something. “The Fall of the Bank of Usher” by Fran Wilde (The Fire Opal Mechanism) is an adrenaline rush of a tale about assumed white orphans Rik and Mad, brother and sister twins, who must hack their way out of an intimidating Scottish bank for a life-changing prize—a challenge many before them have failed. Strong feminist themes appear throughout, and genres run the gamut from futuristic to gothic and lots in between. Diversity in race, gender identity, and sexuality is well represented. As a bonus, all of the original stories and poems are included. Poe’s ghost happily haunts this fresh, delightfully dark collection. (author bios) (Anthology. 14-adult)

Library Journal (September 1, 2019)
Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous works are reimagined by YA authors in this compilation of delightfully shivery tales with strong adult crossover appeal. Tessa Gratton’s “Night-Tide” reworks “Annabel Lee” in a story about family obligations and a lost love between two teen girls. Kendare Blake’s “She Rode a Horse of Fire” recounts an act of dark vengeance enacted by a ghostly woman to a callous young man. “Happy Days, Sweetheart,” by Stephanie Kuehn is a retelling of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” with a jealous high-school student as the guilty killer of her rival. In “The Oval Filter,” by Lamar Giles, a high school football player seeks the answer to who killed his crush, a social media influencer. This collection shines in getting readers to view Poe’s work in a new light, featuring characters from diverse ethnic backgrounds, queer protagonists, and other perspectives not represented in the earlier texts. Packaged in the book are the original stories, making comparisons between the old and the new works easy for readers. VERDICT A solid collection of thoroughly modernized Poe classics, recommended for YA shelves and classrooms or for die-hard Poe scholars.-Jennifer Mills, Shorewood-Troy Lib., IL

About the Editor

Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens and LGBTQReads by night, and a writer of Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, the Radleigh University series, and Cool for the Summer (Wednesday Books, 2021); a contributor to anthologies All Out, The Radical Element, and It’s a Whole Spiel; the editor of the anthologies His Hideous Heart and That Way Madness Lies (2021).

She lives in New York with her husband, son, and overstuffed bookshelves. Her website is www.dahliaadler.com.

Teacher Resources

Collection of Edgar Allan Poe Lesson Plans

Around the Web

His Hideous Heart on Amazon

His Hideous Heart on Barnes and Noble

His Hideous Heart on Goodreads

His Hideous Heart on LibraryThing

His Hideous Heart Publisher Page