Devil in Ohio

Daria Polatin. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-11361-0
Jules Mathis, the 15-year-old protagonist of playwright/TV writer Polatin’s uneven debut, leads an unremarkable life until her psychiatrist mother, Suzanne, brings a patient home with her from the hospital. Sixteen-year-old Mae Dodd recently escaped from a satanic cult in nearby Tisdale, Ohio. Suzanne claims that Mae will only be staying with them for a few days, but it becomes clear to Jules that Mae isn’t interested in leaving. In addition to monopolizing Suzanne’s time and attention, Mae takes over Jules’s room, borrows her clothes, and starts dating her crush. When the cult begins targeting the Mathis family in an effort to recapture Mae, Jules is forced to wonder just how much her mother is willing to sacrifice in order to protect the girl. The setup is intriguing, but underdeveloped characters (including cult members who come across like cartoon villains), a slow-moving plot, and an abrupt and oblique conclusion keep it from being fully realized. Jules’s first-person narrative alternates with third-person chapters focused on her mother; although Jules’s hurt and frustration are understandable, Suzanne’s dedication to Mae is less so as events spiral out of control. Ages 13–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/25/2017
Release date: 11/07/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-250-11360-3
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