People of the Lake

Sky Pony. Oct. 2019. 298p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781510745162.
Gr 7 Up–After her parents’ divorce and her mom’s NYC boyfriend moves in, 16-year-old Clara Morris decides to spend the summer with her dad in the creepy upstate town of Redmarch Lake, NY. She feels little welcome from suspicious townspeople, and the town’s namesake lake lurks like an easily awakened monster in woods that are reputedly unsafe. The only place with a friendly face is the coffee shop where Clara meets Neil, who serves up a little local information and an invite to a lakeside party. When Clara goes, following careful directions about staying on the path, she first encounters frightening, otherworldly presences, then Neil’s old girlfriend is hostile and Hector, another transplant from the city, pays Clara little attention. The next morning, she’s rattled to learn that Neil is dead. Taking over his vacancy at the coffee shop, Clara positions herself to find out the truth, especially now that she’s received uncanny messages from her twin Zoe, who drowned when the girls were eight. With elements of horror, including rumors of human sacrifice on the island in the lake, the novel follows Clara’s dangerous digging with the help of her few allies. Scorza intersperses stories of local historical atrocities, and no one is safe as the teens stir up unrest in ancient powers.
VERDICT This satisfying tale fills a niche for scary suspense.

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