Dutton. Sept. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735231924.
Gr 9 Up–Logan, Holly, Grayson, and Meeka decide that their ex-friend Cole Weston is too dangerous to live. After Meeka breaks up with Cole, he becomes increasingly unstable and repeatedly threatens her with violence. They poison Cole and bury him in the woods behind Meeka’s house, along with four phones holding their confessions, thinking that the worst is behind them. Days later, they are horrified to discover a meme—a screenshot of their confessions—that pops up all over school. A meme that shouldn’t exist, because their phones shouldn’t be accessible by anyone. Suddenly the teens’ “perfect crime” begins to unravel. They begin to suspect everyone around them, including each other, and doubt whether Cole met his final end that night. Only one of the teens knows the truth...but who? This mystery will appeal to young adults who thrive on suspense stories. At times riveting, the novel also presents a somewhat callous and amoral depiction of murder. The kids do not seem genuinely sorry about killing their friend, worrying instead about either getting away with it completely or their own personal projects, which include running a successful charity website and beating a local soccer score. While they repeatedly rationalize killing another human being as the “right thing to do,” the story conveys an unintended yet strongly irredeemable sense of irresponsibility and, ultimately, a lost opportunity to develop the characters’ sense of guilt at murdering an important figure in all of their respective lives. Characters’ appearances are mostly undescribed; Meeka is adopted and looks different than her parents, but her ethnicity is unspecified.
VERDICT A supplemental purchase for YA collections.

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