Undead Girl Gang

320p. Penguin/Razorbill. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451478238.
Gr 8 Up—Camila "Mila" Flores's best friend, Riley, has just died. The police ruled it a suicide, but Mila knows that Riley would not kill herself. While at the abandoned house that she and Riley used to practice witchcraft, a grimoire that contains a spell that can raise the dead is delivered. Mila decides to use the spell to discover the truth. However, instead of bringing only Riley back, she inadvertently brings back two other girls with her—June and Dayton, who also seemingly committed suicide just a day before Riley. This undead girl gang can't remember how they died, let alone if they committed suicide or were murdered, but they have seven days to figure it out before they die again for good. Mila struggles with the consequences of what she has done, especially when Xander, Riley's older brother and the boy she's been in love with for years, seems to be reciprocating her feelings. The girls cast spells and haunt their past lives in an effort to uncover what happened. With time running out and a coven of witches after them, the truth is revealed with frightening consequences. This book abounds in clichés, such as the mean popular girl who repents and the misunderstood protagonist, and it sits uncomfortably between not being funny enough to be irreverent or scary enough to be horror. While it touches on issues of self-esteem related to bullying, weight, and race, none of these threads are developed beyond a superficial level.
VERDICT For large collections only.

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