cover image AMANDINE


Adele Griffin, . . Hyperion, $15.99 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0618-8

Griffin (The Other Shepards) once again examines the nuances of adolescent relationships in this suspenseful novel about a magnetic, mentally unstable freshman and her hold over a new girl in town. "I met Amandine on the last day of my first week at James DeWolf High School," begins 14-year-old Delia's first-person narrative. Through Delia's perspective as a newcomer from New York City, Griffin paints a portrait of the exotic Amandine in detailed strokes, capturing her many disguises ("It's my Natalie Wood from West Side Story costume," she tells Delia to explain one get-up, her full black-and-white striped skirt, red lipstick and gold hoop earrings). Caught between her fascination with/repulsion to Amandine and a need to satisfy her mother's pressure to find friends, Delia invites Amandine to a sleepover at her house and starts in motion an irrevocable chain of events. Griffin foreshadows the denouement with the little lies Amandine plants early on (she was chosen for the New York City Ballet Company's corps de ballet but developed shinsplints at the last minute; she danced at the same Miami nightclub as Madonna, who then stole Amandine's dance moves and got all the credit, etc.). But as Delia begins to detect the depth of Amandine's cruelty and deception, Amandine sharpens her claws and comes up with a lie insidious enough to damage Delia's entire family. With shades of the psychological eeriness and taut suspense of Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, this is a riveting cautionary tale. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)