The Society for Soulless Girls

Delacorte. Sept. 2023. 448p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593703915.
Gr 8 Up–Mystery is afoot right out of the gate as the Carvell Academy of the Arts is reopened—despite the fact that the murders at the North Tower a decade ago have yet to be solved. The narrative is told in alternating chapters by two ill-matched roommates. Alice is the epitome of angry goth, snarling at every turn, and seemingly uninterested in maintaining any friendships. Lottie, the burgeoning Sherlock, is popular, athletic, and ridiculously thoughtful. Steven does a masterful job of retreading time through each character’s perspective so readers can have the experience everyone yearns for in real life—seeing the same event through another person’s eyes. As the events unfold, however, it becomes clear that there is more than just a Scooby Doo mystery involved here. These girls, like their predecessors, find themselves hip deep in the occult, playing out the musings of a centuries-old nun. Set in England, British phrases are peppered throughout, but American readers will have no difficulty adjusting. Readers who suspect the two main characters are in an enemies-to-lovers trope will not be disappointed as the tension between these two blossoms into an inevitable romance. Young feminists will delight in the messaging about anger and how we teach little girls not to fight so that they won’t know how. The main cast cues white.
VERDICT Mystery, occult, and lesbian romance? Yes, please.

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