R.I.P. Eliza Hart

Alyssa Sheinmel. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-08762-8
In this tense boarding school mystery, Ellie Sokoloff, who conceals her debilitating claustrophobia from her fellow students, attempts to solve the mysterious death of her classmate and estranged childhood best friend, Eliza Hart. When Eliza’s body is recovered from the cliffs outside the dormitories, Ellie becomes the prime suspect in her death. From their first days at Ventana Ranch, Eliza spread vicious rumors about Ellie, calling her a stalker and a compulsive liar—and giving her a possible motive. Sheinmel (Faceless) writes mostly from Ellie’s perspective, though intermittent chapters from Eliza’s point of view add depth and clarity to their long history. No one wants to believe that attractive, wealthy, and popular Eliza might have committed suicide, but it becomes clear to Ellie, who has her own secrets, that “just because she didn’t seem depressed doesn’t mean she wasn’t.” Sheinmel’s depiction of mental illness is intensely real, sending a lasting reminder that not all illnesses or struggles are visible from the outside and that there is no shame in seeking help. Ages 14–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 11/28/2017
Genre: Children's
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