Lock the Doors

Vincent Ralph. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-7282-3189-1

After enduring years of emotional and physical abuse from his mother’s boyfriends, 16-year-old Tom Cavanagh seems to have found something like stability in Ralph’s (14 Ways to Die) spine-chilling thriller. Mom’s new boyfriend Jay is funny and kind, and the house they’ve just moved into is her dream home, if littered with holes that need patching. Tom, who lives with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, seems to be the only party concerned about the holes drilled into the outside of his bedroom door—and the cryptic messages he finds underneath his room’s wallpaper and carved into his closet’s walls. When he learns that Amy Pearce, the new student at Priority Road High School, and her family were the home’s previous tenants, Tom thinks they’re the key to solving the mystery. But when Amy’s girl-next-door facade begins to crumble, Tom realizes that the Pearces might not be the victims he thought they were. Intense chapters from Amy’s perspective provide glimpses into her past and offer reprieve from Tom’s sometimes repetitive pursuit of the truth. Nevertheless, Tom’s matter-of-fact voice (“Home is where the hate is”) and Ralph’s short, brisk chapters make for a compact, satisfying thriller. All characters are assumed white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, RCW. (Mar.)
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