cover image The Noah Confessions

The Noah Confessions

Barbara Hall, . . Delacorte, $15.99 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73328-1

Part murder mystery, part family drama, this fast-paced read is the eighth novel by the creator of the now defunct TV series Joan of Arcadia . For her 16th birthday, Lynnie Russo assumed she’d receive a car, like all the girls at her snooty Los Angeles prep school. So when her father gives her one of her dead mother’s charm bracelets along with a mysterious letter she had written to a man named “Noah” when she was 16 herself, Lynnie is shocked—and sorely disappointed. But she soon realizes that there is more to the gift—and to her family’s history—than she could have imagined. Soon Lynnie discovers that “Noah” is really her father, and as she reads more of her mother’s letter, she is confronted with a grotesque secret: “My grandfather was a murderer. He killed a girl with his bare hands. My mother saw it. She never told anyone. Except Noah.” Hall’s knack for spinning a suspenseful tale is evident; she ably uses both the letter and an extended flashback from Lynnie’s father’s perspective as tools to delve into Lynnie’s psyche and showcase her vulnerability. A few scenes verge on the overly campy (including a dream sequence involving Lynnie and her deceased mother), but readers will gladly gloss over them to get to the good stuff. Ages 12-up. (May)