cover image The Last to Die

The Last to Die

Kelly Garrett. Poisoned Pen, $10.95 trade paper (206p) ISBN 978-1-929345-30-4

Six high school students plan and carry out robberies of each other’s homes for kicks in Garrett’s debut novel. Narrator Harper Jacobs, 16, is bright, athletic, sarcastic, and bored. She and five wealthy friends—her boyfriend Gin, as well as Sarah, Alex, Benji, and Paisley—take turns robbing one another’s homes, though they establish ground rules from the start, designed to limit their actions to mostly harmless mischief (“we wouldn’t steal anything that insurance and an AMEX card couldn’t replace”). When Alex suggests burgling the home of a student outside their group, things quickly go wrong, and Harper realizes that it’s no longer a game. The decision to end the game becomes moot after Sarah dies from an overdose, but is it suicide, an accident, or murder? Garrett’s teens are realistically (if one-dimensionally) self-involved, though Harper and some of the others have flashes of insight that point toward their evolving maturity as things spiral out of control. A second death paves the way to an unexpected conclusion in this quick-moving thriller. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)