Bad Like Us

­Inkyard. Mar. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781335453877.
Gr 9 Up–Nine teenagers spend part of spring break at the remote Oregon coast lodge owned by one teen’s uncle; the property is undergoing renovations, so they have the run of it. The book is alternately narrated by Eva and Colton, with interspersed content from text messages, police interviews, and transcripts of videos for social media, as well as flashback scenes. While starting out tense, with Eva hearing a scream near a dark cave, followed by a news article that an unnamed teenager was found dead and another was arrested, the book immediately jumps back to the start of the trip, making the first third more teen drama than mystery. Some may find the characters and their relationships hard to keep track of initially: Eva likes Colton, her friend Danny’s twin; Danny used to date influencer Piper, and now she’s dating Javier, but Danny might still like her. Still, readers will catch on and become invested in the happenings. The pace quickens when the narrative returns to the present, and readers are thrown into a whodunit where everyone seems to have secrets about that fateful night. Pages flow quickly in the second half, as tension builds with storms causing roadblocks, and the teens considering who among them is a murderer. Most characters cue white; Javier is Latinx, and Alice is Black.
VERDICT Fans of Karen M. McManus will find much to enjoy here. Recommended for thriller/mystery collections.

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