cover image A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance

Victoria Lee. Delacorte, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-30582-9

In Lee’s (the Feverwake series) deliciously unsettling standalone thriller, 18-year-old Felicity Morrow, who is white, is reattempting her senior year at Dalloway, a small prep school in the Catskills. The year before, her obsession with the Dalloway Five—purported witches who were brutally murdered in and around Felicity’s residence hall 300 years ago—led, she suspects, to the mysterious death of her girlfriend Alex. Though she’s determined to abandon magic following the previous year’s events, she’s soon drawn into the orbit of eccentric white, gray-eyed novelist Ellis Haley, 17, a fellow Godwin House denizen who persuades Felicity to help her research the murders for Ellis’s next book. As the girls grow closer, forming a coven with their housemates, Felicity, haunted perhaps literally by both Alex and the Five’s leader, begins to realize that everything is not as it seems—not within her own mind, and not within Godwin House. Lee touches on abusive familial and romantic relationships, classism, mental health stigma, racism, and sexism while providing clever commentary on—and near-constant references to—women in the genre of horror. With queer primary characters, an irresistible gothic atmosphere, and unrelenting creeping dread, this propulsive work of dark academia is both thrilling and thought-provoking. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Aug.) [/em]