Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2013 by Hyperion
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.
Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?
Oh, this book you guys. I can already predict the mixed reaction people will have to it. Personally, I liked the novel but thought it quite confusing and fractured until I reached the end. You could have heard an audible click as my brain turned gears and things suddenly made sense. All those loose ends, all those “I don’t quite know what’s happenings,” all of those questions are suddenly answered and it’s a long moment of “Oh snap.”
The book is a thriller, featuring a serial killer with a penchant for nubile young things who will not fight back, a father who cannot get over the death of his wife and two sisters who mix together like oil and water. I liked Rory and Darcy anyway. Though they are not exactly the ideal sisters, they are realistic ones and for once, I was totally on board with the decision Rory makes where the boy is concerned. Even though she likes him and he likes her back, she recognizes on some intrinsic level (or you know, decency) that going out with your sister’s ex-boyfriend is wrong. She chooses her sister over the boy and you know what? This may be the first time I’ve come across a YA novel in which such a thing happened.
Anyway, I thought that was awesome. The setting is well described and there were many times while reading the novel that I wanted to be there where it was warm and sunny and not here where it is cold and rainy but c’est la vie. The other characters are eerie and interesting but you won’t know what their deal is till the end so I won’t say much about them. Reading this novel is an experience that I think you should have without considering anything else. There are so many things about this novel I can’t say without giving it away but I did enjoy how love and romance take a backseat to the primary narrative: that of the serial killer…who is not as frightening as Libba Bray’s villain but is sufficiently creepy.
Anyway, read this book. It may seem a bit fragmented but it’s really cleverly structured. Things don’t fall into place until the end but when they do, they do with a bang. I’m not saying the novel is perfect, it isn’t, but I do think this novel is one of the more interesting ones out there. I can’t wait for the second one in the series.