From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Mimi Shapiro, film studies major at NYU, leaves her predatory professor lover and escapes to a remote Canadian cottage that belongs to her father, Marc Soto, a prominent artist who walked out on Mimi and her mom years before. She finds the cottage occupied by Jay Page, a music student who is also Marc's progeny by a local woman. Despite knowing nothing of one another, the half-siblings forge a quick bond and investigate a series of odd occurrences at the cottage. They discover a hidey-hole under a trapdoor in the floor with an escape tunnel, raising alarm that escalates after a break-in. The story unfolds in alternating viewpoints between Mimi and local loner Cramer Lee, yet another secret Marc Soto offspring, who lives nearby with his mentally unstable artist mother. Cramer supports her by working two jobs and spends his spare time working out with weights and spying on Jay and Mimi. Despite the thriller premise, the tension tends to be tepid, bogged down by overly picturesque descriptions of surroundings, clothing, and cuisine. Cramer's character is well developed and sympathetic in his pathological shyness and twisted maternal relationship. City girl Mimi enthusiastically takes on rural life and travel by kayak, growing past self-absorption, but Wynne-Jones devotes more space to her possessions than her qualities. Jay remains peculiarly flat for a passionate musician. The complications and improbability of suddenly becoming family thrust upon the three are largely untapped.–Joyce Adams Burner, National Archives at Kansas City, MO
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After a stormy affair with a professor, NYU student Mimi Shapiro heads to a remote Canadian farmhouse owned by her father, Marc, a famous painter. On arrival in the idyllic riverside setting, though, she finds Jay, a 22-year-old musician, already ensconced in the house. Jay, she discovers, is her half-brother, and he welcomes her into his comfortable life with his mother and her lesbian partner. Readers learn long before the newfound siblings, however, that Marc fathered another child: Cramer, a twentysomething loner who supports his mentally unstable mother. Is he the sole intruder who stalks and then breaks into the river house? The distance between what readers and characters know creates the story’s central coil of tension, and Wynne-Jones adds extra measures of creepiness in teen-movie scenes of vulnerable Mimi, alone and threatened in the house, and in the flashes of sexual attraction that the half-siblings share. The mystery’s violent conclusion will shock many, but it’s Wynne-Jones’ atmospheric prose and sophisticated exploration of elemental coming-of-age themes that will involve readers most. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg