Frozen Beauty

HarperTeen. Mar. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062330406.
Gr 9 Up–When one of three sisters is found dead, the girls’ secrets begin to unravel. Kit Malloy, the oldest of the siblings, was the always the smartest and most practical of the pretty young women, but the night of her death she was spotted sneaking out with Boyd, the boy living next door. Later, her half-clothed body, blue with hypothermia, was discovered in the back of Boyd’s truck, and her sister Lilly’s eyewitness account lands Boyd in jail, accused of murder. Lilly, the youngest, has secrets of her own, including a crush on bad-boy newcomer Patrick, while Tessa, the middle sister, has been hiding feelings for Boyd for years. Tessa was born with chimerism, a condition where she shares some of Kit’s DNA from their mother’s womb, and therefore sometimes senses the same things that Kit has sensed. These ghostly feelings haunt Tessa’s dreams, leaving her confused, and she begins to doubt Boyd’s guilt. Struggling for closure, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened that night. Through Lilly’s diary entries and Tessa’s hunt for the truth, the secrets are unlocked, piece by piece. Hillyer uses multiple perspectives from past and present, along with Kit’s poems, to tell the story of what happened to the girl. Not simply a cautionary tale, the novel explores the beauty of discovery and “firsts,” and exposes the possible consequences of silencing.
VERDICT On par with popular adult suspense novels, Hillyer’s well-written work is a taut mystery with enough twists to keep the reader on edge until the end. A recommended purchase for YA mystery collections.

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