cover image Now You See Her

Now You See Her

Jacquelyn Mitchard, . . HarperCollins, $15.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-06-111683-4

Mitchard's (The Deep End of the Ocean ) unsettling thriller features a borderline psychotic heroine—a trait that readers will suspect, but not confirm until the final chapters. Bernadette Romano, who now goes by Hope Shay, is destined to be a star—or so she thinks. Through Hope's first-person narrative, readers learn that she was accepted to Starwood Academy for the Performing Arts in Michigan at the age of 15—much to the delight of her success-obsessed parents. Cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet , opposite the 17-year-old hunky and semi-famous actor, Logan Rose, Hope falls in love with him. The two come up with what she calls "The Plan" (to move to L.A. or New York together, get married and become professional actors) and "The Idea" (to stage an elaborate heist wherein Hope is supposedly kidnapped, then later found by Logan, who is paid handsomely by her parents as a reward). But The Idea backfires and Hope winds up in a mental institution for staging her own disappearance. The catch is, she really is sick. Everything—The Plan, The Idea, Logan's love for her, her starring role in the play—was a figment of the now 17-year-old Hope's imagination. Although Hope/Bernadette plays the part of the unreliable narrator with unnerving precision, her disillusionment carries on too long, and readers may well feel they've been unwittingly duped. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)