Lock the Doors

­Sourcebooks/Fire. Mar. 2022. 400p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728231891.
Gr 8 Up–After breaking free of domestic abuse, Tom’s mother remarries and Tom gains a new stepfather who genuinely cares for him. His new stepsister, Nia, ignores everyone except her little brother, Aaron, who lives with their mother. Tom’s OCD compulsions lead him to discover that the doors in their bedrooms have holes, implying that there were locks on the outside. Worry about what this means intensifies when he discovers that Amy, a new student in his school, used to live in his house. Amy is friendly but reserved and her family seems strained, leading Tom to believe that she (as he was) might be a victim of abuse. After Tom and his friend Zak dig deeper, his new family is violently threatened and the past becomes terrifyingly close. Short chapters with action-packed tight sentences heighten the tension and create a page-turner of a book set in Britain. Amy’s experiences are told only after readers hear Tom’s perspective of her, causing the tension to mount as readers must decide where her loyalty lies. Perseverance and determination create a friendship that allows both teens to acknowledge that sometimes trusting is the only way to move out of fear and into a brighter new future. Race of the characters is not stated.
VERDICT Teens who love psychological mysteries will enjoy this. Recommend this book to reluctant readers as well; they will quickly be drawn into the psychological suspense.

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