cover image From Darkness

From Darkness

Kate Hazel Hall. Duet, $17.99 (324p) ISBN 978-1-94505-398-6

Loss and desire shine through Hall’s tender YA debut, in which Greek myth infuses a small Australian town. Arielle Wyndham is haunted by survivor’s guilt following the disappearance of her best friend, Alex, in the sea off rural Stonehaven seven years earlier. During a family crisis, a snake bites Ari, and Alex—now an unwilling psychopomp—breaks the underworld’s laws to save her friend’s life. But their joyous reunion—and growing attraction—are cut short. Alex’s meddling has opened a portal to the underworld, unleashing strange beasts and eerie occurrences into the Stonehaven community. In order to save Alex and her town, Ari must defy a great lord of the underworld. Hall’s unadorned, graceful prose suffuses first love, otherworldly threats, and mundane chores with the same irresistible sincerity, and may appeal in tone to fans of Megan Shepherd’s The Secret Horses of Briar Hill and Lois Metzger’s Change Places with Me. The plot includes a few uneven scene changes, and seasoned YA readers may find the trajectory predictable. Still, Ari’s journey is clear, heartrending, and shot through with sweetness and eerie beauty. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)