The Violent Season

Sourcebooks/Fire. Oct. 2021. 288p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728234106.
Gr 9 Up–Every November is the same in Wyatt’s small Vermont town. The cool winds blow in, and the town’s thirst for death blows right in with it. Is it an illness? Something in their genetic code? Wyatt is haunted by memories of finding her mother’s mutilated body at the top of the stairs, and the police have been useless in solving the crime. Her mother isn’t the only casualty, as violent deaths abound. A search of newspaper headlines draws the attention of an outside online journalist. This journalist is perhaps the only character of color, described in a video call as having dark curls and brown skin. Parallel to the mystery, the novel is also a compelling look at abusive relationships, giving real insight into the hunger for affection that drives people to maintain unhealthy patterns. Wyatt is assigned to a group project with Porter, the school’s golden boy who plans an elaborate Gatsby party, complete with costumes, a remote location, and a series of GoPro cameras: the perfect setting for a murder. It’s going to be the highlight of the school year. When she is assigned to work with Porter, Wyatt’s romantic life pivots, and her current quagmire becomes apparent to her.
VERDICT This thriller delves into the difficult topics of abuse and even rape, making for a complicated blend of mystery and angst that will cause readers to pause.

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