cover image Turn the Cup Around

Turn the Cup Around

John Lescroart, Barbara Mariconda. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32292-8

Relying heavily on thunderstorms, crashing waves and the protagonist's frequent exclamations of ""Godfrey Mighty"" for dramatic effect, this rather convoluted thriller set on the coast of Maine spreads itself thinly over too much ground. Twelve-year-old Evie's summer takes some unexpected turns after her artist grandmother, who dabbles in fortune-telling, predicts Evie will experience ""change... or perhaps some new spin on an old tale."" Administered with a warning to be careful, the prophecy coincides with Evie's nightmares about a giant bird and her growing curiosity about her father, who has been hospitalized for six years. The plot thickens when Evie discovers a recently painted image inside a hidden cave; next, the subject of the painting, a mysterious white cat, suddenly appears. While the story offers plenty of chilling events to keep pages turning, pieces of the puzzle appear to be forced together. Suspense is undercut by flat characterizations and the all too obvious planting of false leads. Mariconda's (Witch Way to the Beach) weaving of past and present tragedies is intricate, but her overall design leaves something to be desired. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)