Missing Dead Girls

Sourcebooks/Fire. Jan. 2023. 240p. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781728234137.
Gr 9 Up–After a deadly incident in Philadelphia, Tillie’s mom insists they move in order to get a fresh start for her senior year. In her new town, she meets rich and beautiful Madison Frank and they immediately spark up a connection. Both girls have secrets in their past, including things they are trying to hide, though neither seems to feel any remorse over their decisions. The sexual tension between them is palpable, especially as everyone tries to warn Tillie away from Madison and her mean girl past. Madison also has a history of covering for her ex-boyfriend Elliot and his bad behavior when he was accused of assaulting a ninth grade girl. While the introductory chapter hooks readers with the promise of a dead body, the action slows down after that until the final act, which does include a twist ending. Walters’s attempts to condemn sexual assault are undermined by a stock villain and cavalier attitudes towards violence. Except for a Korean American side character, the rest of the cast is white.
VERDICT This dark summer revenge thriller/romance features questionable ethics and somewhat bland characters, but may appeal to reluctant readers or those looking for a sapphic romance despite its lacking depth.

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