Publishers Weekly Review
Five teenagers at New York City's prestigious Rockland Academy uncover a murder plot, and signs point to their parents as the killers. Drawing heavily on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and glossy dramas like Pretty Little Liars, Werlin (Extraordinary) bands her teens around tragedy rather than common interest. There's Saralinda de la Flor, an outcast with diabetes and a club foot; Antoine Dubois, star soccer player and class president; Caleb Colchester, son of an eminent psychiatrist, who claims to have a Mr. Hyde-like dark side; Evangeline Song, the acerbic, beautiful brain; and Martha "Kenyon" McKenyon, the proudly queer transfer student with a tragic backstory. Gathering for a student leaders meeting in a rundown corner of the school, the gang narrowly escapes death when the roof caves in, and that's just the beginning of a series of not-accidents aimed at knocking them off. The teens' leap to determining that their parents may be responsible is a stretch, particularly given the ensemble cast, but Werlin creates palpable suspense as she alternates between Saralinda and Caleb's points of view. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-When Saralinda, Antoine, Evangeline, Kenyon, and Caleb barely escape from beneath the collapsed roof of a dilapidated Rockland Academy campus building, the teens are understandably shaken. But when one of the group is killed in a second accident not long after, the other four begin to think that someone wants them dead. Reluctant friendships start to form, along with a theory, but Saralinda is sure that theory is wrong-her mother would never agree to a plot to kill her. Readers learn about the various elements that complicate the group's chances of survival, including Saralinda's protective mother, club foot, and diabetes, as well as the "monster" that is Caleb's dissociative identity disorder and the famous father who diagnosed him. The chapters are short and distinct, shifting between Saralinda's stream-of-consciousness first-person narrative and Caleb's sound but fear-driven second-person perspective to drive the plot. A few aspects of the story line, such as Saralinda's naïveté and Caleb's distrust of himself, are a little heavy-handed, and both budding romances are a bit lacking in originality, but the characters are diverse, each with their own stake in the story, and focusing on the mystery of why someone wants them dead, rather than who, is an interesting twist. VERDICT A good choice for reluctant readers and fans of the author's previous work.-Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Five teens at a private school are invited to a Leader's Club orientation at a dilapidated campus building, and then the roof falls in literally. Someone, maybe plural, is trying to kill them, but what does this unlikely group have in common? Except for Antoine and Evangeline, they barely know each other although Saralinda does have a crush on Caleb. Those two are the alternating narrators, and from them we learn that diabetic, physically challenged Saralinda lives with a smothering mother who would like her daughter to be dependent on her. Caleb's father is a celebrity psychiatrist who has convinced his son that the boy is a bad seed, a danger to everyone around him. Although the psychology of the kids and their parents is a huge part of the story, it's the nonstop action that sweeps readers along. People are on the run, bodies are piling up, and murder is in the air. Up until the last moment, it's not clear who is going to make it out alive. Over the top, definitely, but also a compulsive read.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2017 Booklist