Desperate for a win after she’s fired from her school newspaper and wait-listed by her dream college, Brynn Gallagher, 17, lands an internship at a true crime TV show by pitching a story from her own past in McManus’s (You’ll Be the Death of Me) most impressive mystery yet. When Brynn was an eighth grader at Saint Ambrose prep school in Sturgis, Mass., three classmates, including Brynn’s estranged best friend, Tripp Talbot, went into the woods and stumbled across the corpse of the school’s popular new English teacher, William Larkin. Though fingerprints from one of the trio were found on the murder weapon, the group was purportedly never suspected, and the case went cold. Shortly thereafter, Brynn and her family relocated to Chicago, but now they’re back in Sturgis, and Brynn intends to use her re-enrollment at Saint Ambrose—and her internship—to uncover the thorny truth surrounding Mr. Larkin’s death. Brynn and Tripp’s candid, emotionally complex alternating first-person accounts enrich character while imparting immediacy and drive. The central whodunit spirals into myriad tertiary puzzles, making for a serpentine read rife with convincing red herrings and ground-shifting reveals. Main characters cue as white; the supporting cast is ethnically diverse. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)
Update: The text of this review has been adjusted for clarity.