Dungeons, catacombs, and crypts, oh my: Readers will be glued to the edges of their seats.


High school junior Maren Montgomery suspects something is awry when Polly St. James, her best friend and roommate, disappears from elite Torrey-Wells Academy.

The police and Polly’s parents believe the note she left behind and consider her a runaway. However, when Maren finds an invitation from the Gamemaster’s Society in Polly’s belongings, she concludes her friend may be in danger. Maren has heard rumors about a secret club, and this evidence prompts her to seek out members to help her find her missing friend. Acting on a tip from lab partner and potential love interest Gavin Holt, she challenges social queen Annabelle Westerly to a card game: Winning scores her an invite to a society initiation. Fellow initiate Remington Cruz (who is cued Latine in an otherwise default-White main cast) captures Maren’s romantic interest as together they face the life-threatening, sinister rituals the society performs in the pursuit of personal power and prestige. Multiple twists leave Maren’s head spinning, not knowing what or whom to believe. The cat-and-mouse game intensifies Maren’s race against the Gamemaster’s clock to find Polly, with the trials exploiting the initiates’ worst fears along the way. This plot-driven thriller has excellent pacing that escalates along with the action. The love triangle seems a bit forced, but it propels readers to question which characters are trustworthy. Greek mythology references will entice genre crossover readers.

Dungeons, catacombs, and crypts, oh my: Readers will be glued to the edges of their seats. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72825-106-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.


Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Immersive and genre-savvy.


Senior year is not off to a great start for Stevie Bell: She’s antsy with no cases to solve, stressed by college applications, and missing her long-distance boyfriend terribly.

So when David invites Stevie to visit him in England, she immediately accepts and, with the help of friends Janelle Franklin, Vi Harper-Tomo, and Nate Fisher, gets a study-abroad trip approved for all four of them. Upon their arrival, David introduces them to his classmate Izzy, who has a story to tell. In 1995, a tightknit group of Cambridge graduates who called themselves the Nine arrived at a country estate for a summer getaway. The morning after their arrival, they discovered the mangled remains of two members. Although the police concluded it was a burglary gone wrong, Angela, Izzy’s aunt and a surviving member of the Nine, recently let slip her suspicion of a more sinister explanation for the deaths. Stevie’s deductive skills are put to the test, but other concerns—her relationship with David, graduation and inevitable separation from her friends, a persistent feeling of inadequacy—compete for her attention and occasionally push her anxiety, which she manages with medication, to the brink. The exploration of the importance of friendship (with parallels between the Nine and Stevie’s group) adds emotional vulnerability to this book, which has a well-developed sense of place and features the series’ signature humor and layered mystery elements. The cast includes diversity in race, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Immersive and genre-savvy. (map, floor plan) (Mystery. 13-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-303265-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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