City of Villains

Disney-Hyperion. Feb. 2021. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368049382.
Gr 8 Up–Fifteen-year-old Mary Elizabeth is still mourning the shocking murder of her parents and sister when she witnesses “The Fall.” Everyone in the Scar is familiar with this event, when a 160-story building suddenly vanished in a flash of blue light. More than 3,000 people were inside, and they vanished too. Out of grief and confusion, people took sides—the Magicalists thought the Fall was a sign that magic needed to return, while Naturalists felt it was a sign that magic was rejecting them. Two years later, Mary Elizabeth now lives with her Aunt Gia and is an intern for the Monarch City police department. She is crazy about her boyfriend James Bartholomew, even though he is part of the shifty Neverland Crew. The city is in turmoil. When a wealthy classmate disappears, Mary Elizabeth is excited to be selected by the chief to work the case. The young sleuth becomes entangled in a web of more missing teens, a deadly lake, and finally—the disappearance of James. She must race against time to protect those she loves. Mary Elizabeth is a credible narrator and many teens will admire her tenacity, though other characters are not as fleshed out, and there are few physical descriptions. The plot is quick and not too complicated. Fans of the Disney villains will get a kick out of this reincarnation.
VERDICT A glimpse of the dark side of Disney with a tenacious heroine and fast-paced suspense; a great choice for reluctant teen readers.

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