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ComplicitFrom Goodreads: Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie. Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell. Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.

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The synopsis of Complicit drew me in from the get go, and I knew I had to read this novel. With a premise like this one, you just know it’s got to be good, and it was. Very good, especially with its ending that completely knocked me on my butt. I mean, WOW.

According to her confession and the evidence her brother Jamie found in the woods, Cate Henry set alight a horse barn with the horses still inside in hopes of drawing out their riders and doing as much damage to both them and the horses as possible. Sent to juvie for two years, the novel begins as Jamie learns that his sister, Cate, has been set free, sending him spiraling down as she taunts him with statements about their deceased mother and the fact that Cate’s now coming for Jamie.

Determined to find the truth at any cost, Jamie begins to stir up the past, including that surrounding his mother’s murder when he was a young child; an event that not only left him emotionally scarred, but also suffering from blackouts and seemingly sporadic loss of his hands mobility. Unable to remember the events of his past, or even his mother’s features, though certain that they hold the key to Cate’s odd, cultish behavior, Jamie sets off on a journey of self-discovery, and what he finds is beyond alarming. Told through both past and present revelations, readers begin to put together the puzzling pieces of Jamie and Cate’s existence, understanding that not everything is as it seems, and that the cost of protecting the fragile mind of the young can indeed turn deadly.

I highly enjoyed this novel, especially with this ending that left me mystified and chilled to my core. While I was able to pinpoint the truth behind Cate’s actions fairly early on, the events that readers are left with at the very end were still shocking and, in a way, more appalling than that of the horse barn burning in the first place. Jamie’s attempts to placate his sister while maintaining the semblance of his life, including his very first crush, sends readers on an intense psychological ride as Cate gets ever closed to Jamie, and as everything comes to a head, it’s beyond mind blowing. If you’re looking for something completely different, I suggest picking up Complicit—be prepared for a chilling conclusion. Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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9396154From Goodreads: Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

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So, I have this quirk of mine where I like to cozy up in my bed late at night, turn out the lights, and listen to scary books on my Kindle (while the computerized voice isn’t all that scary, the fact that I am listening to potentially deadly situations unfold in the pitch dark always heightens the fear factor for me as opposed to reading in the daylight).  I ended up listening to all of Harrington’s The Dead and Buried this way, and let me tell you, there were definitely some instances in which my blood ran cold.

While the beginning of the novel reads like any other YA story in which a teen moves to a new school and is struggling to make friends, the twist is the fact that Jade and her family moved into Kayla Sloane’s house, the resident mean girl who died in the very house Jade now calls home.  The fact that it remains unclear whether or not Kayla was murdered makes it all the more chilling, and as Jade begins to uncover the truth about Kayla’s life, loves, friends, and death, a creepy ambiance surrounds the novel.

I loved Jade’s determination to save her family from the wrath of Kayla, and her sleuthing abilities were fun all follow along with, and so was the little romance Harrington added to the mix.  However, I will say that I was able to figure out the truth surrounding Kayla’s death fairly early on due to some foreshadowing and “in passing” comments from other characters in the text.  This isn’t a bad thing, by any means, but I definitely would have liked it to be more of a surprise.  But, what was lacking in the surprise department was definitely made up for when it came to scaring me stiff.

In regards to Kayla, I hold absolutely no love for her, especially as she threatens Jade’s family and the truth about her thoughts and feelings unfold.  She was a terrible person in life, and a terrifying entity in death, and even finding out the truth about her death didn’t make me feel sorry for her, but rather filled with anger.  Once you read it, you’ll see why, but I can’t say anything else about that without giving away clues, so I’ll move onto the aspects of the novel that scared me to death.  While Kayla is new to haunting people, she has no qualms about threatening the life of a five-year-old, and her new-found ability to possess Jade’s younger brother chilled me to the bone.  As I laid in my bed listening to the story unfold, there were multiple instances that Kayla did something that made my hair stand on end and my entire body tingle—similar to the feeling you get when a part of your body begins to fall asleep.  What was really creepy about this is that the feeling of intense evil would come over me and go from head to toe in a matter of seconds, which in turn chilled my blood and had me turning on the light to make sure I was alone and that no ghost was haunting me in my room.  I don’t know that I would have been as afraid had I read this novel during the day, but I’m telling you, if you really want to be unnerved and a little bit frightened, definitely read this novel with minimal light when you’re home all alone.  The plot will seriously mess with your feelings of security.  Four stars.

4 stars
Scholastic Inc. has been extremely gracious in allowing me tno read this novel via Netgalley.


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