cover image Whisper to Me

Whisper to Me

Nick Lake. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-61963-456-5

Cassandra, 17, is already carrying a deep emotional scar when she finds a severed human foot in her Jersey Shore town, where a serial killer is suspected in the disappearance of 14 sex workers. The shocking discovery jars loose guilt and sadness over her mother’s violent death in the form of a disturbing voice that harangues Cassie to harm herself in many ways, including by sabotaging her summer romance with the boy to whom the story is addressed (in what would surely be the world’s longest email). Cassie’s conversational narration continually telegraphs impending doom, which keeps the pages turning as readers race to find out what horrible fate will befall the characters, especially Paris, a stripper who befriends Cassie at a psychiatric hospital. Cassie is a deeply sympathetic figure, due in no small part to the terrifying and violent demands of the voice she hears. Part romance, part crime story, part meditation on mental illness, Lake’s (There Will Be Lies) story covers a lot of ground but leaves several threads hanging, which may frustrate some readers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Caradoc King, United Agents. (May)