The Blonde Dies First

S. & S. Jul. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665922456.
Gr 9 Up–The book is told from Devon’s point of view, starting at the beginning of a very important summer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Devon is determined to make it the “Best Summer Ever” because she just found out that her twin sister Drew—an actual genius who was sent to private school—has managed to graduate high school a year early, making this summer the last chance that Devon has to reconnect with her. Devon and friends head to a graduation party for Drew, which is thrown by her mysterious private school friends. During the party, Drew’s friend Avery brings out a Ouija board and guides the group through a ritual to summon a demon. While the summoning initially seems like a cheap party trick, the group soon discovers that they truly did summon a demon—and it wants all of them dead. Following the basic tropes for classic horror films, this fast-paced thriller puts a brand-new spin on demon-possession. The characters are highly relatable, and deeply fleshed out. While each character is initially assigned a trait that designates the likely order that the demon will try to kill them, they learn that they are all far more complex, and people can fit in more than one category. Readers will be racing to reach the explosive conclusion. The book explores how time can change not only a person, but a whole community, addressing racism, family bonds, and the courage to face your fears. Most main characters are Black, with several supporting characters who read as white.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for all libraries where thrillers are popular.

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