Makani Young has only lived in the small town of Osborne, Nebraska, for about a year, and she’s missed everything about her life in Hawaii. She has made a few friends, at least, and she loves her grandma, who’s a better parent than her mom or dad. But the events of one dark night that made her have to leave Hawaii behind still haunt her thoughts.
She’s interested in a guy named Ollie, who’s a loner other kids at school gossip about, but frustrated and confused by him. They had a few makeout sessions over the summer, but he’s just ignored her for the couple of months school has been back in.
Just as they start connecting again, a girl who’s the star of the school play is killed at her house — gruesomely. And soon after, a popular football player is murdered — similarly gruesomely. As the body count increases, the danger gets close to Makani, and she can’t help but worry if her past is catching up to her somehow. She now has Ollie for support — but what will he think when he finds out the truth about her? That is, if they both live that long.
Stephanie Perkins, a popular writer of swoon-worthy teen love stories, turns her talents to exploring another teen romance — set within a horror story. As Perkins wrote on her blog, “And as odd as this may sound, it’s not actually that different from my other books! There’s still an intriguing boy, making out, self-awareness, and plenty of friends chatting and eating and gossiping together.” It’s entertaining enough, particularly if you like Perkins’ other books and you’re in the mood for a print version of a slasher flick. The body count certainly did pile up pretty high and there was a good dose of teens doing things parents don’t want them doing, like having sex, smoking weed and drinking, among other things. I thought it was a little thin on some points but a fitting read for around Halloween, which it was when I read it.
Rated: High. There are probably 30 or more instances of strong language, as well as plenty of other milder uses of obscenities. The main character and her love interest have sex a few times. There’s discussion of a past incident of serious hazing that includes lots of alcohol and some disturbing behavior. One character smoked marijuana in the past and had sex with an older person. The killer primarily uses a knife and does different horrible things to each victim, and there’s a lot of blood. Discussion point: there is a transgender character.