Without dropping a beat, the story ends in a crescendo of danger and turmoil and paves the way for the vigilante teen to...


Bestselling true-crime writer Olsen takes a successful stab at thriller writing for teens.

Ever since 15- (or maybe 16-) year-old Rylee (that’s her name this time around) can remember, she’s been on the run with her mother, stepfather, and younger brother, Hayden. They change towns, aliases, schools, and appearances every time her mother’s stalker catches up to them. When they find their mother missing and their stepfather murdered, Rylee and Hayden must flee on their own—and rescue her mother before the stalker carries out his final plan. Groomed by her years of lying, Rylee is well-equipped to go undercover, but she’s not prepared emotionally when she discovers the true identity of her mother’s stalker and his connection to murdered teen girls in the past. The tension in the taut, first-person narrative ratchets even higher when Rylee’s research uncovers not only that this villain is a serial killer, but that all of his victims only survived one week of his torture. She has only days to save her mother—and possibly even herself. And as she searches for clues about her mother’s disappearance, she uncovers her own life, too.

Without dropping a beat, the story ends in a crescendo of danger and turmoil and paves the way for the vigilante teen to take on more criminals in subsequent books. (Thriller. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-940610-69-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Polis Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A lush and hypnotic modern fairy tale.


Ten years ago, enigmatic film star Mireille Foix disappeared from Viloxin, her Mediterranean island home, leaving her pharma tycoon husband and two young daughters bereft.

Eighteen-year-old Manon and 17-year-old Thaïs have lived with their aunt in New York City ever since, and their father’s death the previous summer still stings. Tai is puckish and effervescent, with “beautiful gemstones of stories that she’s sharpened to points” and musical laughter that hides deep insecurity. Noni, on the other hand, is a bookish and unabashedly melancholy young woman. When they get an invitation to return to Viloxin, the “Eden” of their childhood, as guests of honor at a retrospective of their mother’s work, they can’t pass it up. Soon after their arrival, Tai discovers White Fox, a legendary unfinished script penned by her mother. The screenplay, which is nestled in between Tai’s and Manon’s narratives as well as that of Boy, a darkly mysterious third narrator, may hold the key to Mireille’s fate. Desperate for the truth, Tai and Noni are enticed into an eerie and darkly seductive puzzle box of enigmatic clues, revelations, and danger. Faring, an imaginative, tactile, and immensely quotable wordsmith, explores the complexities of sisterhood and grief with a deft hand, and her unusual island setting, with its futuristic touches, draws readers in with a sensuous warmth that belies the sharp teeth beneath its surface. Most main characters seem to be White.

A lush and hypnotic modern fairy tale. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30452-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Hard-to-read story, hard-to-stop-reading writing.


A hardscrabble antihero’s coming out lands him in an off-the-grid conversion camp.

Connor Major of Ambrose, Illinois, has quite a mouth on him. But when it comes to the rite-of-passage revelation to his single, hardcore Christian mother that he’s gay, he can’t find his words. At the behest of his boyfriend, Ario, Connor begrudgingly comes out, which is where the book begins. His rocky relationship with his mother is disintegrating, his frustration with exuberantly out Ario grows, accusations of being the absentee father of his BFF’s baby boy haunt him, and he gets violently absconded to a Christian conversion camp in Costa Rica. And that’s all before the unraveling of a mystery, a murder, gunshots, physical violence, emotional abuse, heat, humidity, and hell on Earth happen in the span of a single day. This story points fingers at despicable zealots and applauds resilient queer kids. Connor’s physical and emotional inability to fully find comfort in being gay isn’t magically erased, acknowledging the difficulty of self-acceptance in the face of disapproving homophobes. Lord of the Flies–like survival skills, murder, and brutal violence (Tasers, spears, guns) fuel the story. And secret sex and romance underscore the lack of social liberty and self-acceptance but also support the optimistic hope of freedom. Connor is White, as is the majority of the cast; Ario is Muslim.

Hard-to-read story, hard-to-stop-reading writing. (Fiction 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63583-061-3

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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