Secrets So Deep

Razorbill. Sept. 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593403990.
Gr 9 Up–Sain’s sophomore effort follows white 17-year-old Avril Vincent as she returns to Whisper Cove in Connecticut, the summer theater where her mother (and technically Avril, too) drowned 12 years ago. Avril is determined to use the opportunity to answer her questions about who her mother was and what happened to her; getting to perform in the play her mother’s famous best friend Willa Culver wrote (especially in the lead role opposite Willa’s brilliant, gorgeous son Cole) is icing on the cake. But Avril didn’t count on falling in love with Cole or on how deeply buried the answers to her questions would be, and how some secrets don’t want to be found. The main characters’ slow-burn romance is believable and sweeter than Avril’s witty cynicism would suggest; side characters are diverse, unique, and not overly numerous. Nocturnal wanderings and paranormal events add an extra layer of mystery to the twists and turns, and this atmospheric, thoroughly engrossing, and spooky tale is far from the average theater camp story. Content warning for self-harm, though gore and gruesome events are kept to a minimum. There is some cursing and smoking by characters as well.
VERDICT An exploration of many different ways to be haunted wrapped in eerie, chilling suspense; highly recommended for many readers.

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