From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Evie is an outsider with a vivid imagination. She makes up stories for herself and others to make life in her small Midwestern town tolerable. When a childhood friend, Zabet McCabe, is murdered, Evie is thrust into a story beyond her wildest imaginings. Her little habitual deceptions, usually so harmless, get her entangled with grieving Mr. McCabe and Zabet's emotionally unstable and reckless best friend, Hadley Smith. Hadley is obsessed with finding Zabet's killer, and Evie lets herself get dragged into her increasingly paranoid and dangerous investigation. This dark and suspenseful coming-of-age story builds steadily to a violent climax. Evie is a skillful storyteller, perceptive and thoughtful, with a dry sense of humor. She is especially sensitive to disingenuousness in others, particularly in her mother, with whom she has an emotionally distant relationship. As a result, she fixates on the only genuine person in her life: taciturn Jonah Luks, on whom she has an unrequited crush. Evie adds beauty and excitement to the mundane with her fantasies, but only grows as a person when she faces reality and reaches out to the people around her. Readers who have ever felt like they don't fit in will find it easy to empathize with the teen's struggle to connect to others, and anyone can relate to the disillusionment that comes with growing up.—Erin Carrillo, formerly at Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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Always on the social fringes, Evie’s early Sunday paper route puts her at the scene of a disturbing crime. When the murder victim turns out to be a childhood friend, Evie’s crush on Jonah (who found the body) and her uneasy friendship with Hadley take on an eerie quality. Drawn into the search for the murderer almost unwillingly, Evie simultaneously moves quickly into adulthood, facing complex struggles and fears. This debut novel will appeal to fans of Gail Giles’ What Happened to Cass McBride? (2006) or Peter Abrahams’ Reality Check (2009). A good option for reluctant readers, this thrilling story shows many instances of lyrical language, and the pacing is pitch-perfect. Evie’s isolation from her peers is a little hard to swallow, and her naïveté at a college party is a stretch for a 16-year-old, but for some readers, that may make her character that much more appealing. The less-than-clean ending may frustrate some but is a realistic touch. Grades 8-12. --Melissa Moore