The Leaf Reader

Emily Arsenault. Soho Teen, $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-61695-782-7
In high school junior Marnie Wells’s small town, the disappearance and presumed death of star athlete Andrea Quinley is sad but old news. Andrea’s onetime best friend, Matt Cotrell, remains haunted by her disappearance, and he turns to Marnie, hoping that her rumored ability to read tea leaves might provide new insight or that she’ll be a sympathetic shoulder. (Marnie is all too familiar with concerned glances and alienation after her brother’s overdose.) The tea leaves that Marnie reads foretell something sinister, and eerie anonymous emails begin arriving as the two unravel the intricate threads linking Andrea and their peers in increasingly unexpected and potentially dangerous ways. Mystery writer Arsenault makes a solid foray into YA, though the story moves more slowly than some readers might expect. Marnie is a well-developed protagonist whose concern with how others perceive her family is immensely relatable, but the book’s secondary characters are less memorable. The incorporation of tea-leaf reading, including the ceremony and symbolism of the art, adds a distinctive element to a mystery that’s well worth a read. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Langlie, Laura Langlie Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017
Release date: 06/13/2017
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-61695-907-4
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