Two Sides to Every Murder

Putnam. Jun. 2024. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593352052.
Gr 9 Up–Valentine’s newest YA novel is a heart-pounding thriller. When 16-year-old Olivia learns her father is not her biological dad, she begins to question the secrets her family could be hiding since her birth during a mysterious and brutal murder at Camp Lost Lake her mother witnessed. Reagan, whose mother Lori was blamed for the murders and dubbed the Witch of Lost Lake, is looking to prove her mother’s innocence by going back to camp as it is being reopened by Olivia’s sister Andie. Both Olivia and Reagan see the reopening as an opportunity to get the answers they’ve been looking for. However, when the Witch of Lost Lake returns, the girls must first fight to stay alive. Valentine’s dual-perspective chapters add suspenseful insight into Olivia and Reagan’s distress as they run from a killer, start to piece together what really happened at camp years ago, and try to keep their best friends Jack and Hazel alive. Valentine amplifies fear by pitting the teens against each other—there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the woods with a killer and not being sure you can trust the people you are with. The story has many twists and turns, and the ending is shocking. Olivia and Reagan present as white, Jack as Asian, and Hazel has brown skin and freckles.
VERDICT A twisty, edge-of-your-seat thriller mystery with a surprise ending that will stay with readers.

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