Killing November

416p. Knopf. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525579083.
Gr 7 Up—November Adley has lived a sheltered life, growing up in a quiet New England town with her widowed father. One day he abruptly informs her that she needs to leave her familiar home for an exclusive boarding school for her protection while he deals with threats against their family. Instead of a traditional boarding school, as discussed, she finds herself in an isolated castle. There is no electricity and no means of communicating with the outside world, and the students are the children of elite strategists who have been maneuvering and influencing the world for thousands of years. Curricula includes knife throwing, poison, and deception. Secrets abound, and November is vulnerable, traversing unknown alliances and unfamiliar traditions. Tensions escalate quickly, and a classmate is found murdered. November must determine whom she can trust and how to protect her family. While the premise is absurd and most plot points could easily be resolved by a few honest conversations, the mystery is compelling. November is smart and loyal and has some depth. The mystery and action take the focus, while romance adds a light touch to the intense plot.
VERDICT An entertaining read that teens will eat up.

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