THE CALLENDER PAPERS

Less ambitious than Voigt's other novels, this conforms to an established juvenile fiction genre, but it is a superior example of its type. Written in the first person with a touch of period primness, it's the story of Jean Wainwright's 13th summer in 1894, which she spends away from Aunt Constance, the admirable girls'-school headmistress who raised her, in the employ of wintery Mr. Thiel, the widow of Aunt Constance's girlhood friend Irene Callender. Mr. Thiel has summoned Jean to sort and dispose of several cartons of Callender family papers, a dull and bewildering task. But the Callender family mystery proves more intriguing: Why is Mr. Thiel not on speaking terms with Enoch Callender, Irene's younger brother, who lives nearby? Was Irene murdered, and if so by whom? And what happened to her child, who disappeared soon after its mother's death? As the summer and her task proceed, Jean becomes better acquainted with both Enoch and Mr. Thiel, and with Mac, the local doctor's son, who becomes her partner in tracking down the family secrets. Jean herself is poisoned, but whether purposely or by accident, whether in Enoch's home or in Mr. Thiel's, she can't be sure. It becomes clear that she's in danger, but from which side? Perhaps old Mr. Callender's will, which could answer much, can be found among the family papers. At times the conflicting claims are almost too much for Jean, whose uncertain judgment leads her into a potentially perilous situation. But through it all she exhibits a direct good sense and alert intelligence that win regard from all parties, and from readers as well. Readers may suspect all along what Jean discovers only at the end—that she herself is the Callender heir, Mr. Thiel is her father, and Enoch, spoiled and discontented, is responsible for his doting sister's death. But knowing that doesn't lessen the suspense or the satisfaction to be found in this engaging, aptly plotted, character-centered identity-mystery.

Pub Date: April 21, 1983

ISBN: 0689832834

Page Count: 277

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.

THE FEAR

This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more