cover image What We Saw at Night

What We Saw at Night

Jacquelyn Mitchard. Soho Teen (Random, dist.), $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61695-141-2

Bestselling author Mitchard launches the Soho Teen imprint with a contemporary thriller whose tension and excitement are tempered by coincidences, near misses, and credulity-stretching assumptions. Sixteen-year-old Allie Kim and her friends Juliet and Rob all suffer from xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), a fatal allergy to light. Their shortened lives must be lived in the dark. Luckily, they live in a quiet Lake Superior resort that hosts both rich people and a specialized XP clinic, so everything necessary for an unshackled nightlife is available. At Juliet’s instigation, the trio takes up the acrobatic extreme sport of parkour. When Allie witnesses something disturbing during one of their midnight building-climbing jaunts, and a friend turns up dead, no one believes Allie’s claim that the fault is not with adolescent recklessness, but a blonde sociopath she glimpsed through a window. Atmospheric, melancholy passages, especially at the outset, can be breathtaking, but as the improbable twists mount, subtler emotions are lost to momentary gasps of horror and lingering skepticism. A cliffhanger ending sets up a planned sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (Jan.)