The Marvelous

Claire Kann. Swoon Reads, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-19269-1
Kann (If It Makes You Happy) delivers a high-concept escape room drama featuring a variously inclusive cast. Light-skinned socialite turned app developer Jewel Van Hanen, who is biracial (Black and white), returns from a yearlong hiatus from her app, Golden Rule, to invite six app users on a mysterious all-expenses-paid getaway called Golden Weekend. Among them is Luna, a half-Black, half-white superfan, 15, who is obsessed with unlocking the meaning behind everything Jewel does; “Black and female and fat” aspiring actor and Golden Rule superstar Nicole, who attends under coercion; and brown-skinned, micro-locced Stella, a Golden Rule newbie whose invite carries much more enigmatic motives. Arriving at Jewel’s vast estate, they’re invited to play The Cruelest Jewel, in which they must complete a series of tasks for a chance at being one of two winners of $500,000. After a slow start, the high-stakes contest picks up speed, intertwining mystery with engaging character interactions. The resolution feels muddled, but usernames make the online aspect feel real, and a confounding 11th-hour mystery and plenty of found family goodness—paired with a vibrantly described setting and clever gameplay—will excite. Ages 13–up. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2021
Release date: 06/08/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-83313-6
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