Famous Last Words

320p. Scholastic/Point. Sept. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545639972; ebk. $18.99. ISBN 9780545639989.
Gr 8 Up—Willa's new stepdad, Jonathan, is a movie director, which is how she finds herself transplanted to Hollywood from suburban Connecticut. Willa isn't particularly thrilled about her mom remarrying—she is still reeling from her father's death two years ago. But for her mom's sake she is determined to make it work. On the plus side there's Marnie, a new friend at school, and Reed, Jonathan's cute, young assistant who seems to like Willa as much as she likes him. Unfortunately, there's also a murderer, aka the Hollywood Killer, on the loose who enjoys re-creating iconic scenes from classic movies, such as the final attack scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. The murderer's victims—always young aspiring actresses—play the starring roles. Wyatt, Willa's unfriendly chemistry lab partner at school, seems oddly obsessed with the crimes. As if that weren't enough, Willa's new house is haunted. The ghost is desperate to tell her something; Willa thinks it might have something to do with the Hollywood Killer. The plot moves at a breakneck pace as Alender has jam-packed her latest novel with murder, ghosts, and romance. At the heart of this story, however, is Willa coming to terms with her father's death. Fans of the author's "Bad Girls Don't Die" series (Disney-Hyperion), as well as readers who enjoy suspense and supernatural elements with their romance, won't be disappointed.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Willa's new stepfather's Hollywood mansion is haunted--and the ghost has something to tell her. Meanwhile, with the help of a cute classmate, Willa investigates the murders of the "Hollywood Killer," who arranges victims in famous movie tableaux. Astute readers may guess the identity of the killer, but they'll still be on edge throughout in this unnerving supernatural page-turner.

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