cover image The May Queen Murders

The May Queen Murders

Sarah Jude. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-544-64041-2

A teenage girl faces the darkest secrets of her secluded Missouri Ozarks village in an assured debut suffused with Gothic tension and atmosphere. Ivy Templeton’s kin have lived in Rowan’s Glen for centuries, a remote community full of ancient traditions and superstitions. Shy herself, Ivy shares an unbreakable bond with her spirited, danger-flaunting cousin, Heather. When dogs start turning up dead around Rowan’s Glen, everyone blames Birch Markle, who killed a local woman 25 years ago and disappeared into the forest. For the first time since the infamous murder, the Glen decides to celebrate May Day, crowning Heather as queen, but she disappears on the night of the celebration. Jude’s characters exude authenticity, and the suspense stays palpable through the final pages, as Ivy and a childhood crush seek to right wrongs—even if that means disrupting the delicate balance of a town built on false legends. Despite the story’s dark core, Jude brings her affecting, off-the-beaten-path coming-of-age tale, and its heroine, into the light. Ages 14–up. Agent: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (May)