cover image The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray

Christine Lynn Herman. Disney-Hyperion, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-368-02496-9

In this Gothic tale of small-town secrets, several teens, each defined by a significant loss, must work together despite old family tensions to defeat an ancient evil that lurks in the shadows and preys on the unwary. When 17-year-old Violet Saunders, still reeling from her sister’s death, moves to the Upstate New York community of Four Paths, she soon discovers that her family is descended from one of the four town founders, and, like those before her, she has inherited dangerous magical abilities, which she must learn to control via ritual if she ever wants to leave. Along with Justin Hawthorne, who hides his lack of powers; Harper Carlisle, who lost a hand in the Gray, the beast’s prison; and angry Isaac Sullivan, whose ritual destroyed his family, Violet delves into Four Path’s mysteries, eager to stop the evil before it claims more victims. In this creepy debut, Herman imbues her setting with a claustrophobic atmosphere filled with intrigue. While the small-town setting and intertwined magic-wielding families may feel familiar, Herman creates distinct characters and an appealing mystery with an imminent sense of betrayal and tragedy that will keep readers awaiting the next volume. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)