Emotionally close sisters with distinct and credible personalities find themselves whisked from their divorced mother’s apartment in a working-class neighborhood to the palatial home of her new husband at a Connecticut beach resort. Alice, 17, is quiet but not passive, and 16-year-old Charlie is rather a wild child, but with the ability to think reflectively between bouts of partying. The creepiness of their wealthy new community and their mother’s apparent personality change since her marriage are subtly and inexorably portrayed in a consuming, almost mesmerizing story. The town’s youth, whether rich or not, have secrets, and the adults are telling a variety of lies. The new stepfather’s own teenage daughter, Camilla, died in what he first says was an accident but that later he notes was suicide. When Alice finally finds pictures of Camilla, she and Charlie both see a stark resemblance between Alice and the dead girl. An excellent launch to a suspenseful series, with good enough writing to allow the reader to overlook what might have seemed psychologically didactic in a lesser concoction. Grades 8-10. --Francisca Goldsmith
About the Author
Lili Peloquin grew up in New England, where the beginning of summer still reminds her of that moment right before someone tells you a secret. The Innocents is her first novel.