cover image The Girl in the Park

The Girl in the Park

Mariah Fredericks. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-86843-6

Fredericks’s haunting psychological thriller is filtered through the watchful eyes of high school student Rain, as she looks into the death of her classmate Wendy, who is found murdered in Central Park the night after a party. Both outsiders, Rain and Wendy used to be close, but by their junior year they have grown apart. Rain, self-conscious about a speech impediment that is the result of a cleft palate, is a reticent observer of life, while Wendy is, on the surface, an attention-seeking, relationship-wrecking party girl from Long Island. Devastated by Wendy’s death and protective of the late teenager’s reputation, which is being trashed in the tabloids and at school, Rain fishes around for information, putting herself at risk. Fredericks’s mystery unfolds gracefully, revealing the rich inner life that Rain is so reluctant to share, as well as a complex portrait of Wendy, the kind of girl people “love to hate.” Rain’s voice provides an authentic portrait of grief and powerlessness, while Fredericks (Crunch Time) offers profound, provocative commentary on what it means to grow up in the age of Facebook. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)