Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Last Real Girl (The Disappearance of Charlotte Walters #1), by L.C. Warman (author), Brooke Myers (narrator)

Greenleaf & Plympton, May 2019

Reese and her mother moved to the prosperous, exclusive town of St. Clair when Reese was eleven. They're not typical of the town; her mother is a nurse, working at the hospital, and it's luck and determination that enabled her to find affordable housing within St. Clair. But Reese likes their outsider status, feeling that it lets her appreciate the beauty and distinctiveness of the town better than the locals do.

Reese was also lucky to become the best friend of Charlotte Walters. Charlotte is from one of the most prominent families in town, and very popular. However, she and Reese met during a brief rift in Charlotte's popularity in middle school, and she befriended Reese, who was also eating lunch alone. The single best thing we know about Charlotte is that, when her popular-crowd friends returned, she remained loyal to Reese as her best friend, including her in a crowd that normally would have ignored her.

When they are seniors in high school, Charlotte starts to become more changeable in mood, more reckless, more eager to make sure they don't miss anything about the experience of being seniors. And she decides, very suddenly, to have a Halloween party, with a keg, and telling ghost stories. Her parents are away for the weekend; only her older brother Aiden is there, and sullen and disapproving as he is, he won't call their parents or the police.

During this party, Charlotte goes out around midnight, toward Lake St. Clair, saying she's going to hear the local ghost, Screaming Stella. Reese goes after her, just seconds behind her, determined to bring her back--but Charlotte has disappeared.

The remainder of the story is Reese's attempt to figure out what happened and find her friend.

It's a well-done look at the stresses and social pressures of high school life. We also get the unfolding, atmospheric impression of just how odd St. Clair really is, in ways that  aren't right there on the surface. We get growing hints of the flip side of the magic Reese has always seen in St. Clair, as she tries to dig for information about what really happened that night, and what might really be going on with Charlotte, her family, and her wider circle of friends.

I do have to say, this book ends with those questions unanswered, a bit of a cliffhanger.

It's interesting and absorbing, (the start of) a satisfying young adult mystery.

I received a free copy of this audiobook via StoryOrigins, and I'm reviewing it voluntarily.

No comments:

Post a Comment