cover image Wretched Waterpark (Sinister Summer #1)

Wretched Waterpark (Sinister Summer #1)

Kiersten White. Delacorte, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-37904-2

Twelve-year-old twins Theodora and Alexander Sinister-Winterbottom, and their 16-year-old sister Wilhelmina, encounter the summer-vacation unexpected via White’s (the Camelot Rising trilogy) archly told, gleefully macabre series opener. In the middle of a night marked by “urgency and candles,” the siblings are transported to a mysterious home to stay with equally mysterious maternal aunt, Saffronia Sinister, who “by all appearances, had never encountered an actual human child before.” Telling them to “find what was lost,” she drops them off at the Victorian-flavored, unusually grim Fathoms of Fun Waterpark, which features a slide named Oblivion and a wave pool called Cold, Unknowable Sea. Owned by dour Mrs. Widow, the amusement park thrills adrenaline fanatic Theo and unnerves cautious Alexander as they wander the grounds under Wil’s nominal supervision, avoiding the lone eatery’s mince pie and seeking the recently disappeared Mr. Widow. The caper moves briskly toward a tidy end, popping with witty dialogue and gothic puns, and pitting the twins, their technologically distracted sister, and a newfound ally against avaricious forces while hinting at larger series mysteries around the siblings’ parents and collective memories. Alexander and Theo are white; Wil has brown skin. Ages 8–12. Agent: Michele Wolfson, Wolfson Literary. (June)