Point, June 2014
Desperate to shine, Briana understands that she must first emerge from her mother’s shadow. In an apparently counterintuitive move, she chooses to attend the very same prestigious boarding school where her mother was once the brightest star on stage. Driven by the need to prove to her mother, and more importantly to herself; one can most certainly be a fine, talented actor while deftly avoiding drama in real life, she was able to push reservations aside, as the move is not without apprehension.
McHale remains void of friends, and even acquaintances are hard to come by when tension is palpable between the McHale students and those unfortunate souls that live in the surrounding town, attending the public school. It wasn’t only the imagined class disparity that kept the teens apart; but an unsolved murder of a student that attended McHale along with Briana’s mom many years ago held the wedge firmly in place.
Focusing solely on the goal of being Ophelia, Briana morphs into “Bree”, takes to Twitter, and is quickly accepted into an exclusive McHale theatre clique. But what goes up; must come down. In no time at all, the friendly glances warranted by popularity become accusatory side-long stares. Accidents begin to happen in the theatre, students meet untimely and freaky demises. A new Twitter user, “Hamlet’s Ghost” begins to taunt, and point the finger at Bree. Life has new meaning. More important than a role in a play, far outweighing the ridiculous pipe-dream of popularity, Bree’s focus is abruptly shifted to the critical tasks of staying alive and revealing the truth.
Ms. Davies spins a chilling story with a meaty mystery, spot-on teen-age representation, down to the sparring dialogue; with a few sly mentions of Phish and the Grateful Dead for those of us that are not exactly “Young” Adults. She artfully combines the angst of high-school with real-life, adult issues; thus allowing the characters opportunities for self-reflection and growth. As Bree learns more about her fellow students, faculty, and the townsfolk; she reveals more about herself and what kind of person she really wants to be; while discovering surprising parallels with the mother that once seemed her polar opposite. This is a book that I can happily recommend to any Middle-Grade, YA and Not-So-Young Adult reader; as it is simply a well-written, entertaining story.
Reviewed by jv poore, August 2014.