cover image Liar’s Beach

Liar’s Beach

Katie Cotugno. Delacorte, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-43328-7

None of Michael Linden’s affluent prep school classmates know that he wouldn’t be able to afford his tuition without his lacrosse scholarship, or that his mother cleans houses to make ends meet. Linden isn’t the only one who’s been putting up a front, though; his roommate Jasper’s family has been embroiled in recent legal trouble. But hidden truths won’t ruin the two-week trip Jasper has planned for himself, Linden, and a group of fellow students at Jasper’s family vineyard house. Linden is hoping for a relaxing summer, but that seems unlikely after he bumps into Holiday, a childhood friend who ghosted him. Hookups and fun in the sun are had, until someone is found unconscious in the pool. Holiday, who loves a mystery, insists they investigate, but as the teens get closer to the truth, their secrets begin to unravel. An uneven tone oscillates between high-society angst and camp sleuthing, sapping momentum from this pulse-pounding departure by Cotugno (You Say It First), which borrows elements from Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Even so, Linden’s potent romance with Jasper’s twin sister, Holiday’s resolute detective skills, and conversations surrounding classism ably propel the narrative. All characters are white. Ages 12–up. (May)