cover image As I Descended

As I Descended

Robin Talley. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-240923-2

Talley (What We Left Behind) creates a dark and twisted gothic boarding school setting replete with vengeful spirits, drugs, and suicide in this Shakespeare-inspired tragedy. Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten, roommates at Virginia’s exclusive Acheron Academy, are also secretly in love. The girls plan on attending Stanford after graduation, far from disapproving parents and peers. Standing in their way is Delilah Dufrey, the school’s golden girl, who is poised to win the coveted Cawdor Kingsley Prize, which guarantees the winner full tuition to the college of their choice. Lily uses a Ouija board and Maria’s belief in the paranormal to persuade her that they should expose Deliah’s drug use, but her plans go horribly awry when the girls inadvertently release angry ghosts. Third-person narration shifts among multiple characters, revealing more to readers than they do to each other. As Talley adeptly weaves elements of horror into the narrative, she creates an ominous yet comfortable boarding school environment that lulls readers into a false sense of security while setting them up for the next chilling event. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Sept.) [/em]