Publishers Weekly Review
When Vermont best friends Brynn, Mia, and Summer were 13, Summer was murdered under strange circumstances linked to the girls' obsession with an old fantasy novel, The Way into Lovelorn. Five years after being publicly accused of, but never charged with, Summer's murder, Brynn and Mia, still known as the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane, are determined to find out what really happened. Oliver (the Delirium Trilogy) tells her story in first-person chapters that alternate between Brynn, in rehab, and Mia, who is trying to dig herself out of her mother's hoarded piles. In chapter interstitials, Oliver weaves excerpts from The Way into Lovelorn as well as the fanfiction the three girls wrote when they were young, designed to offer an additional layer to the mystery. This novel has all the elements of a thriller-an unsolved murder, long-held secrets and lies, grieving best friends-yet it lacks necessary tension, and Brynn and Mia's voices read as overly similar. The novel falls short of producing an urgent story with clearly distinct characters, but it succeeds in creating an eerie setting and atmosphere. Ages 14-up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up-Oliver's latest thriller brings readers into the outskirts of Vermont, where two girls must work together to solve the cold case of their best friend's murder by locating her killer and simultaneously exonerating themselves in the public eye. Brynn, Mia, and Summer are an inseparable trio until the day that Summer is found viciously murdered, left as a sacrifice to someone-or something. In the aftermath, Brynn and Mia are never formally convicted, but they are found guilty in the court of public opinion. Years after, a wedge has been driven between them. At odds with the rest of the town, and even with their families, the two girls begrudgingly reconnect to sort out the truth of what happened. Their best clues are also the items that led the town to judge them as killers-the pages of a book the three had been writing together, in which the protagonist is brutally murdered. Captivating and sinister from the start, the novel's depiction of female frenemies and villains is fresh and complex, even if the resolution is a little tidy. The novel deals pretty heavily in sex, violence, and emotional cruelty-it's done well, but it's not for the faint of heart. Summer is like the second coming of Alison DiLaurentis from "Pretty Little Liars," except prone to animal abuse and even more unhinged. VERDICT Recommended for mature teens interested in reading about the everyday monsters they may encounter without ever knowing it. A must-have.-Emily Grace Le May, Williams School, Information Services Associate © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Summer is the troubled sun around which Mia and Brynn revolve, and the three friends cocreate an imaginary world called Lovelorn, based on an old book Summer has kept with her through many years of bouncing around in the foster care system. In an effort to appease the Shadow, a character from the original book, Summer organizes a sacrifice and ends up dead. Brynn sent Mia away on that fateful day but is a prime suspect herself, as is Mia's secret crush, Owen. The case is never solved, so on the fifth anniversary of her death, the three decide to find the real culprit. Oliver masters the slow reveal in this mystery-laden thriller. Readers will know there's something amiss but will get caught up in Brynn's rehab stints and Mia's situational mutism, while golden girl Summer shimmers dead center. Mia and Brynn share narration duties in nuanced chapters that delicately capture their personalities, and excerpts from The Way into Lovelorn (the imaginary book) heighten the tension by acting as teasers and further indicators of characterization. Taut and twisting, Oliver's latest is something special. Try it with fans of the Pretty Little Liars series, April Genevieve Tucholke's Wink Poppy Midnight? (2016), or Karen M. McManus' One of Us Is Lying? (2017). HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Oliver is a regular on best-seller lists, so order up to keep the bloodshed down.--Cindy Welch Copyright 2018 Booklist