In this bleak tale from Chapman (Dualed), high school junior Marsden Eldridge is desperate to escape her hometown of Glory, along with her younger sister, Wynn. To do so, she skims money from the bodies she finds in the nearby covert, purportedly cursed property owned by her family—it draws people from miles around to kill themselves there. The sisters live in a brothel masquerading as a boarding house, where their half-Chinese mother works as a prostitute. Soon, Marsden will be forced into prostitution to help repay her late father’s debts. Then Marsden’s classmate Jude Ambrose shows up, looking for answers about his older brother’s suicide. Marsden and Jude, both mixed-race outsiders, start falling for each other, but Marsden has secrets she fears having uncovered and the mystery of her father’s death to solve. Overlapping subplots abound, though Marsden’s fixation on speaking with the dead is an extraneous one without much traction. The setup is enticingly eerie, but Chapman’s lyrical writing is weighed down by a slow-moving plot. Ages 13–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/18/2017 Release date: 03/01/2018 Genre: Children's
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