Broken Things

416p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062224132.
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.

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