Suspenseful and often wise.


A teen vigilante finds the tables turned when a mysterious correspondent uncovers her secret identity.

During the day, Lauren Daniels, better known at school as Panda, tries to stay unnoticed. At night, she becomes Gray, a skilled and daring photographer who captures incriminating or humiliating pictures of high school bullies and posts them to her anonymous website. (Regrettably, the homophobic undertones of two of Gray's posts go largely unremarked upon.) Furious that popular Keachin Myer attacked a disabled classmate, Panda follows Keachin and hits photographic pay dirt. That night, she receives an email from someone called SecretAdm1r3r with incriminating photos of Panda herself photographing Keachin. From then on, the game’s afoot: SecretAdm1r3r's taunting messages at first dare Panda to take risky photographs but quickly move into more sinister territory. When SecretAdm1r3r hints that something will happen to Keachin and Keachin turns up dead the next day, Panda cuts ties, at her own cost. "We're all something we don't know we are," Panda tells readers, and though the mystery takes center stage, Panda also learns important truths about her own shortcomings. The cast is refreshingly racially diverse (Panda herself is mixed-race and looks it on the cover), and though some of the attempts at misdirecting sleuthing-inclined readers are more successful than others, frequent plot twists and short, fast-moving sentences keep tension high.

Suspenseful and often wise. (Thriller. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-229756-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.


After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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