cover image Missing Dead Girls

Missing Dead Girls

Sara Walters. Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99 paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-7282-3413-7

In this rapidly paced mystery, Philadelphia transplant Tillie Gray, a rising senior, is framed for the murder of the most popular girl in her new Pennsylvania town. An out lesbian raised by a single parent, Tillie seems to have little in common with the queen bee of Willow Creek High School, Madison Frank. When Tillie and Madison bond over a horrific accident, the two become instant friends and, eventually, lovers. Over the summer, the girls escape to a private lake house where they take on a graveyard restoration project and hide from Willow Creek’s homophobic residents. Despite being warned about Madison’s tendency to “chew girls up and spit them out,” Tillie craves Madison’s attention, and is willing to do anything for her, including helping Madison to expose her controlling ex-boyfriend Elliot James, who is rumored to have sexually assaulted another student. But plans go awry when Madison turns up dead and Tillie is accused of her murder. Though awkward plotting sometimes leads to uneven storytelling, Walters (The Violent Season) composes a suspenseful tale populated by a well-characterized supporting cast, and the heavily foreshadowed conclusion, told in Tillie’s absorbing narrative voice, is deliciously chilling. Characters are assumed white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sharon Pelletier, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Feb.)